Newswires: Late-Breaking Industry News

Nitro Welcomes Delaney, Says Goodbye to Top Executives

NEW YORK Nitro has hired former Deutsch CCO Kathy Delaney as the creative head of its office here just as New York general manager Gabrielle Bradford and evp, corporate development Greg Davis are leaving, according to sources. Davis will return to Publicis’ Kaplan Thaler Group as managing director of business development; Bradford’s plans are not clear, sources said. Nitro founder Chris Clarke has been filling in as the CCO at the office, which handles clients such as Mars and ConAgra. Delaney, a 13-year veteran of Deutsch, left the IPG shop in November to pursue “other interests.” The move came after Deutsch, known for the long tenure of its top executives, suffered a series of large account losses beginning in 2004 and continuing through much of 2005. Bradford, a former Ogilvy & Mather executive, is said to be a key client contact at the Nitro N.Y. office. Bradford could not be reached for comment. Independent Nitro, which launched in Shanghai in 2002, recently won the Volvo creative account in conjunction with Havas’ Arnold. Nitro execs could not be reached for comment.

Droga5 to Launch Honeyshed Branded Entertainment Site

NEW YORK Publicis’ Droga5 is jumping into the branded entertainment space. The New York-based agency this summer will launch the Web site Honeyshed, which will feature programs that place brands at the center of the action. “It’s based on the idea that people love brands and don’t mind being sold to if it’s completely transparent,” said Andrew Essex, CEO at Droga5. There will be three different regions of Honeyshed: One will offer studio-produced shows; the second will focus on episodic content that revolves around brands; and the third will consist of contests, sweepstakes and giveaways. Honeyshed joins a landscape populated by brands such as Anheuser-Busch’s (which has struggled), Nike’s and Toyota’s Scion broadBand.

Delta Launches Marketing Effort Following Chapter 11 Emergence

NEW YORK Delta Air Lines, which recently emerged from Chapter 11, last week said it would launch a marketing campaign to herald its “new era, introduce an updated, boldly modern corporate brand and showcase a reinvigorated customer experience.” The “Change” campaign via SS+K, New York, will include TV, radio, print and outdoor. Modem Media, New York, handles online elements. Delta said this would be a multimillion-dollar effort. The client spent nearly $55 million last year in measured media, per TNS Media Intelligence. TV spots featuring actual Delta employees in 60-, 30- and 15-second versions began airing last week on TBS and Fox Sports Network as well as local stations in New York and Atlanta. Print will run in newspaper and magazines including The New York Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Wall Street Journal and New York.

Activision Hands Creative, Media To DDB L.A. Following Review

LOS ANGELES Santa Monica, Calif.-based Activision ended a protracted creative and media review last week by awarding its business to Omnicom’s DDB, which bested Publicis’ Team One in the finals. The first work from the Venice, Calif., shop is expected in the fall. Spending on the brand had been around $80 million annually until its falling out with incumbent independent Secret Weapon Marketing, Santa Monica, which did not defend.

TBWA\C\D Takes Global Pioneer Flat-Panel Work From RPA

LOS ANGELES Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day has wrested Pioneer flat-panel displays global creative and media duties from independent RPA here, according to a TBWA\C\D rep. Estimated worldwide ad spending on the displays exceeds $50 million, per sources. Chairman and CCO Lee Clow, at TBWA\C\D’s Playa del Rey, Calif., office, will lead creative on the business, the rep said. Omnicom Media Group is handling media chores in most markets. The first work, featuring eight new models that emerge from Pioneer’s “Project KURO” initiative, is expected to break this fall.

HBO CEO Albrecht Steps Down Following Las Vegas Arrest

LOS ANGELES Chris Albrecht has stepped down as chairman and CEO of HBO, parent company Time Warner said, in the wake of a highly publicized arrest. “With great regret, at the request of Time Warner I have agreed to step down as chairman and CEO of HBO,” Albrecht said in a statement issued by TW. “I take this step for the benefit of my HBO colleagues, recognizing that I cannot allow my personal circumstances to distract them from the business.” HBO COO Bill Nelson will take over Albrecht’s duties on an interim basis. Albrecht’s departure came a day after he disclosed in an internal memo that he would take a temporary leave from the company in order to seek treatment with Alcoholics Anonymous. The memo suggested alcohol might have played a part in an incident Sunday morning in Las Vegas in which he was arrested on misdemeanor charges because of an alleged physical altercation with his girlfriend outside the MGM Grand casino.

FCC Chairman Offers Assurances To Cable Execs at Gathering

LAS VEGAS Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin insisted he has no anti-cable agenda during an address at last week’s National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s Cable Show here. Martin, who has been aggressive in his regulation of digital cable services, is widely seen as a powerful antagonist to the MSOs’ ambitions to maintain their relative stranglehold over the broadband space. He’s also a supporter of the highly unpopular à la carte pricing plan. Martin said that he wanted “to set the record straight,” counting off a litany of instances in which he as FCC chairman had supported cable. But he also reiterated his support of à la carte plans. “I don’t think that cable subscribers should have to buy Spike TV in order to see the Discovery Channel,” Martin said.

Nielsen, AEGLive Join Forces To Enhance Billboard Brand

NEW YORK The Nielsen Co. has forged an alliance with AEG Live, a unit of sports and entertainment presenter AEG, aimed at expanding the brand of Nielsen’s Billboard magazine globally. Under the alliance, AEG—which owns and operates venues such as Staples Center and Nokia Theatre Times Square—will create Billboard-branded tours, concerts, festivals and TV award shows and expand existing Billboard events. The companies also plan to create broadband and mobile content to complement the events and programs. AEG will handle sales, promotions and merchandising related to the events and awards programs. Billboard is a sister publication of Adweek; Nielsen is the parent company of both magazines.

Richards Group Gets $20 Mil. Creative Duties on Amstel Light

NEW YORk Heineken has shifted creative duties on its Amstel Light account to independent The Richards Group, according to sources. The brand, for which the client spends about $20 mil. annually, was moved from incumbent Publicis’ Publicis USA here in December, but had been unassigned since then, per sources. Richards in Dallas was among the agencies that pitched the $80 million Heineken business, a decision that went to WPP’s Berlin Cameron United in New York earlier this year. Last October, Richards lost its share of Corona beer when the client consolidated the brand at independent Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago. The client and agencies could not be reached or declined comment.