Newswires: Late-Breaking Industry News

IPG Shareholders Vote Down 2 Proposals, Reelect Board

NEW YORK IPG shareholders last week nixed a proposal to split the roles of chairman and CEO and another that would have allowed investors holding at least 10 percent of the company’s outstanding common shares to call special meetings. IPG had urged shareholders to oppose each measure. The special meeting proposal, however, garnered support from 43 percent of those who voted—a relatively strong showing for a first-time proposal. The vote against separating chairman and CEO—titles now held by Michael Roth—was more lopsided, with 87 percent opposing, 11 percent supporting and the rest abstaining. Stockholders also reelected all nine board directors for another year and reappointed longtime outside auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers during an uncontentious annual meeting. About 80 people attended the 42-minute gathering, which took place at the Museum of Television & Radio in Manhattan.

Smith Barney Adds Publicis As 4th Finalist in $35 Mil. Review

NEW YORK Publicis here has emerged as a late contender in Smith Barney’s estimated $35 million review, expanding the list of finalist agencies to four, sources said. As a result, the process has been extended to give the Publicis shop time to prepare for its final presentation, said sources. Pitches by the other finalists—IPG’s McCann Erickson, WPP’s Young & Rubicam and independent Gardner Nelson & Partners, all in New York—began last week and will continue this week; Publicis is slated to present within the next two weeks, according to sources. Both creative and media duties are in play. Smith Barney is a division of Citigroup Global Capital Markets, whose parent company, Citigroup, also owns Citibank. The bank last month named Publicis its lead global agency, after seven years with Publicis’ Fallon. Publicis declined comment, and the New York client could not be reached. The process is being managed by New York-based Source Martin, which did not return calls.

Lowe N.Y. ECD Romano to Move To Lowe Latina in Madrid

NEW YORK Fernanda Romano, ecd at IPG’s Lowe here since 2005, is transferring to the shop’s Madrid, Spain, office in July to become a gcd at Lowe Latina. Romano, 32, will work with clients such as Unilever. She also becomes part of a Lowe Latina leadership team that includes CEO Jean-Louis Roche, executive director Fernando Vega-Olmos and chief strategy officer Alex Pallete. Launched in the fall, Lowe Latina aims to reach Latin consumers with common values in markets such as Spain, Central America, South America and the U.S. Lowe New York CCO Mark Wnek plans to fill the ecd role, preferably with another executive who has digital experience.

$60 Mil. Cost Plus Taps GSD&M, Plans Alternate Pay Agreement

LOS ANGELES Cost Plus has hired Omnicom’s GSD&M to handle advertising for its 294 World Market and Cost Plus World Market stores without a review, the client said. There was no incumbent, said John McGrath, vp, communications at the Austin, Texas-based shop. The company had used an internal marketing department, which will now work with agency personnel. The client spent $25-30 million in domestic measured media in each of the past two years, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. McGrath said the total marketing budget would be at least $60 million. GSD&M is working out an alternate compensation deal with the client, said McGrath. “The [agency] compensation model is being defined, but there is agreement on both sides that it will be based on performance and results,” he said.

Ground Zero Bows Ditech Work After Winning $90 Mil. Business

LOS ANGELES Independent Ground Zero last week broke its first work for prime lender Ditech after adding creative chores on the $90 million account last month, the client said. Previously the work had been handled by a variety of roster shops. According to sources, the unit of General Motors Acceptance Corp. had conducted a review that came down to independents davidandgoliath, El Segundo, Calif., and Ground Zero, with Targetcom, Chicago, also an independent, dropping out in the last round. Media was not in play. The new campaign intends to correct the misperception that Ditech is a sub-prime lender, the client said. The Costa Mesa, Calif.-based company spent $90 million on measured media in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Web Advertising Shoots Up 35% In 2006 to $16.9 Bil. in Revenue

NEW YORK The Web advertising industry had its best year ever in 2006, climbing 35 percent to $16.9 billion in overall revenue, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. That increase was fueled at least in part by record fourth-quarter ad revenue of $4.8 billion. Both brand-oriented display ads and search placements saw similar strong growth. The IAB said search revenue for the year was $6.8 billion, up 31 percent from a year earlier. Display revenue was $5.4 billion, also up 31 percent. Search advertising’s share of the overall market fell slightly from 41 percent to 40 percent.

Lowe’s Appoints Tribal DDB Lead Agency for Digital Work

NEW YORK Retailer Lowe’s has named Tribal DDB its lead digital agency following a review, the Omnicom shop said. Tribal will handle all interactive duties, including Web development, online advertising and e-mail marketing, replacing project work handled by other shops, including IPG’s R/GA. OMD Digital will continue to handle interactive media. The account win for Tribal’s Chicago office follows a lead agency assignment from shoe retailer Nine West in March. An R/GA representative said the shop wrapped up its last project for Lowe’s in the middle of last year. Lowe’s spent $20 million online in 2006, per TNS Media Intelligence. The Mooresville, N.C.-based client chose BBDO as its lead agency in September 2005 following a review.

2-for-1 Stock Split at Omnicom Followed by 15-Cent Dividend

NEW YORK Omnicom last week said its board of directors authorized a two-for-one stock split in the form of a 100 percent stock dividend. All shareholders at the close of business on June 6 will receive one additional share for each share held on that date. The split will be distributed on June 25. Omnicom’s board also declared a quarterly dividend of 15 cents per outstanding share of its common stock following the completion of the stock split, an increase of 20 percent from the previous split-adjusted quarterly cash dividend of 12.5 cents per share. The cash dividend is payable on July 5 to Omnicom common shareholders of record at the close of business on June 6.

Retailer Hands $740 Mil. Media Account to MPG After Review

NEW YORK Sears Holdings last week selected Havas’ MPG to handle media duties after a review, the client has confirmed. The other contenders were incumbents MindShare and MEC Interaction, both units of WPP; Aegis’ Carat; and independent Horizon Media, per sources. In early April, Sears confirmed placing media planning and buying duties on its nearly $740 million advertising account in play. The competition covered both the Sears and Kmart retail chains. MPG said the account would be managed out of both its New York and Chicago offices. One month ago, Kmart shifted its creative to IPG’s DraftFCB in Chicago without a review. WPP’s Young & Rubicam in Chicago handles creative on Sears. Those assignments were not affected by the media review. The company spent nearly $740 million on advertising last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, down 3 percent from the previous year.