Newswires: Late-Breaking Industry News

Amp’d Mobile Suspends Review Following Chapter 11 Filing

LOS ANGELES Amp’d Mobile suspended its $65 million creative review last week after the Los Angeles-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company said. According to public documents, Amp’d owes various creditors more than $100 million, including $3.7 million to incumbent independent Taxi. Final presentations were supposed to be last week for Omnicom’s Cutwater, San Francisco; Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Sausalito, Calif.; and 72 and Sunny, Los Angeles. Select Resources International was managing the process. Sources said the review could be resumed or canceled outright following a June 20 court proceeding.

$60 Mil. Taps Wieden for Creative, Media

CHICAGO has awarded creative and media duties on its $60 million advertising account to independent Wieden + Kennedy, the client has confirmed. The account had been in review since the company parted with independent Cramer-Krasselt here. The Portland Ore.-based shop prevailed in the final round over Havas’ Arnold in Boston and two Chicago agencies: IPG’s DraftFCB and Publicis’ Leo Burnett. Executives at Wieden could not be reached. The job-search company, which is owned by a consortium of newspaper firms including the Tribune Co. and Knight Ridder, parted with C-K in February. Sources have said the client was disappointed with its standings in the Ad Meter poll in USA Today following this year’s Super Bowl.

$35 Mil. Bissell, Campbell-Ewald Split, Creative Up for Review

CHICAGO IPG shop Campbell-Ewald has parted ways with Bissell after the client put creative duties on its $35 million account into review, the shop said. The Warren, Mich., agency had handled the vacuum manufacturer’s account for seven years, and produced work under the tagline, “We mean clean.” In an internal memo, C-E CEO Tony Hopp said the decision to part with the client came after the Grand Rapids, Mich., company sent out RFPs. A company representative did not return calls.

AICP Honors Commercials For American Express, Geico

NEW YORK The Association of Independent Commercial Producers named Ogilvy & Mather’s “Wes Anderson” for American Express the best commercial of 2006. The Martin Agency’s Geico “Cavemen” effort was named Best Campaign. Moxie Pictures produced “Anderson,” and Furlined produced “Cavemen.” This was the first time the AICP singled out a commercial or campaign as Best in Show.

Total U.S. Ad Spending in Q1 Drops .3 percent to $34.93 Bil.

NEW YORK The nation’s largest advertisers, including Procter & Gamble, AT&T and General Motors, pared their advertising budgets going into 2007, sending total Q1 ad expenditures down 0.3 percent to $34.93 billion, according to data released last week by TNS Media Intelligence. Even when factoring out last year’s surge due to events such as the Winter Olympics, “it is apparent that core growth rates have slowed further from last year’s lackluster levels,” said Steven Fredericks, president and CEO of TNS. Only six of the 19 media tracked by TNS showed gains in the first quarter, including Internet display advertising (up 16.7 percent to $2.7 billion), cable TV (up 6.3 percent to $3.8 billion), Spanish-language TV (up 3.7 percent to $985.5 million), consumer magazines (up 7.1 percent to $5.1 billion), Spanish-language magazines (up 14.3 percent to $35.6 million) and outdoor (up 2.4 percent to $882.2 million).

Coke Launches the Sprite Yard, Social Network for Cell Phones

NEW YORK Coca-Cola has launched a mobile social network aimed at teens and young adults called The Sprite Yard. The mobile community application allows users to set up a profile, send messages and photos to friends, and download content like visual ring tones and animated mobisodes. The Sprite Yard went live in China earlier this month and will be available in the U.S. on June 22. Those two markets represent over half of Sprite’s sales, a Coke executive said. Users join the community by texting a code (“YARD” in the U.S.) that returns a link to the mobile site. Coke created The Sprite Yard with several partners, including Aegis Group digital agencies Molecular and Marvelous. WPP’s LiveWorld is providing moderation. Coke also consulted with carriers on the implementation, and is working with McDonald’s to market Sprite Yard in China.

Internet TV Startup Joost Signs Former Cisco Exec Volpi as CEO

NEW YORK Internet TV startup Joost has brought on Cisco veteran Mike Volpi as its new CEO. He succeeds Fredrik de Wahl in the top position at the high-profile site, which hopes to marry TV with the interactivity of the Web. Volpi spent 13 years at Cisco, most recently running its $11 billion router business. Joost was founded by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the creators of the Kazaa music-sharing service and Skype Internet-calling system. Like those products, Joost relies on peer-to-peer technology, allowing it to tap into unused processing power to deliver high-quality video. The company last month said 30 advertisers had signed on to use the platform, including HP, Intel, Nike and Sony. While most of its initial ads are standard 15- and 30-second spots, Joost is experimenting with interactivity, which would allow users to click for more information.

Nielsen Business Media Names SVP for Marketing, Media Group

NEW YORK Sabrina Crow has been named svp of Nielsen Business Media’s Marketing & Media Group, which houses Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek, and Editor & Publisher, among others. Based in New York, Crow replaces Mike Parker, who is leaving the company to pursue a non-business-to-business venture. In her new role, Crow will oversee all business and editorial operations for the brands, including their related conferences, events and digital products. She will report to Nielsen Business Media COO Greg Farrar. Before joining the company in April, she was group vp, managing director for the Reed Business-U.S. Science and Medical portfolio of magazines and Internet brands.

Roehm’s Wal-Mart Filing Draws Defamation Suit From Jacobs

CHICAGO Jacobs Trading founder Irwin M. Jacobs has filed suit against former Wal-Mart marketing executive Julie Roehm for defamation. Roehm, in an ongoing dispute surrounding her December 2006 dismissal from the Bentonville, Ark., retailer, has claimed that Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott purchased boats and bought jewelry from Jacobs-affiliated companies at “preferential rates” while Jacobs Trading did business with Wal-Mart. In his suit, Jacobs said the claims were “false [and] made without any attempt to investigate the truth or falsity of the statement[s].”

TBWA Taps Mars Account Chief As Head of New York Office

NEW YORK TBWA North America has named Corey Mitchell to lead TBWA\Chiat\Day’s office here as president. Mitchell, whose previous title was worldwide managing director on the agency’s Mars account, becomes part of a New York management team that includes ecd Gerry Graf and Suzanne Powers, executive director of strategy and business development. Mitchell, 38, becomes the first president since Brett Gosper, who led TBWA’s New York Group from September 2004 until September 2005. North American president Robert LePlae also has functioned as an office leader since moving from Los Angeles to New York in late 2005.