Newswires: Late-Breaking Industry News

Dentsu Seeks to Dismiss Biegel’s Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

NEW YORK Dentsu America filed a motion in a New York federal court last week to dismiss the sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit filed by former group creative director Steve Biegel. The agency denied all of Biegel’s lurid claims, saying if they were valid they should have been made while Biegel was a Dentsu employee or that he should have filed the suit a year ago when he was fired. Instead, Dentsu argued in its motion, Biegel prepared a draft of his lawsuit and showed it to two of the agency’s biggest clients, Toyota and Canon, while he and his attorney attempted to secure a $1 million payout from Dentsu. In his Oct. 31 lawsuit, Biegel said he was fired because he complained about sexual harassment. Dentsu’s top North American exec, Toyo Shigeta, was named in Biegel’s complaint. In court papers, Biegel claimed he was forced to visit a Prague brothel and a Japanese bathhouse and that Shigeta showed him a “crotch shot” of fully-clothed tennis star Maria Sharapova, allegedly taken by Shigeta, without her knowledge while she was on a photo shoot for Canon.

NBC, TiVo in Stop/Watch Pact; Will Add Interactive Component

NEW YORK NBC Universal last week entered into a multi-year partnership with TiVo. As part of the agreement, NBC-owned-and-operated TV stations will subscribe to TiVo’s Stop/Watch second-by-second commercial ratings service and sell TiVo interactive Record Tags in combination with other NBC products. The tags allow viewers to click on an icon when watching a commercial to obtain more information about that advertiser and then return to the place they exited. NBC will offer advertisers detailed reports on the results of information derived from viewers clicking on the tags. TiVo and NBCU will also work to develop additional ad products and will share revenue derived from those products.

RJR to Stop Running Ads In Magazines, Papers Next Year

NEW YORK R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, under intense pressure from anti-smoking groups and members of Congress over print ads for its cigarettes, last week said it would not advertise in newspapers or consumer magazines next year. The client spent $40 million last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The company had been criticized for its feminine Camel No. 9 ads, which appeared in fashion magazines and were aimed at young women, and also for a recent ad in Rolling Stone in which four pages of Camel cigarette ads bookended Rolling Stone’s own material. R.J. Reynolds representative Jan Smith told the AP that the decision had been made sometime before October and was unrelated to the Rolling Stone controversy.

Arbitron’s Portable People Meter on Hold in 9 Markets

NEW YORK Arbitron put the rollout of its Portable People Meter ratings service on hold last week, delaying the commercialization of nine markets on its 50-market rollout plan. The radical decision follows a barrage of criticism from broadcasters and other groups over the PPM service, culminating in a recent ultimatum from Clear Channel, Cox Radio, Cumulus Media and Radio One that Arbitron fix PPM’s low samples among young demographics in Philadelphia, “or else.” The decision means that the radio industry’s transition to electronic measurement will take a lot longer than expected. Until September 2008, the radio industry will only have two PPM markets, Houston and Philadelphia. New York, Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y., and Middlesex-Somerset-Union, N.J., scheduled to go live a week and a half ago, will be delayed nine months. Los Angeles, Riverside, Calif., and Chicago will be delayed six months. San Francisco, San Jose, Calif., and Dallas will be delayed three months. With the exception of Dallas, which will now go live in December 2008, all the other markets will go live in September 2008.

$140 Mil. Cadbury Media Review Narrows to 4 Shops

new YORK Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages has selected four finalists to pitch media duties on its U.S. beverages account, confirmed search consultancy Roth Associates. The contenders are IPG’s Initiative in New York, Mullen in Wenham, Mass., and The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., and the incumbent, WPP’s Mediaedge:cia in New York. Mullen is pitching via its MediaHub unit, and Martin via its Ingenuity Media arm. Cadbury, which last year spent $140 million in measured media, picked the finalists after visiting six shops the week of Nov. 12.

Unilever Confirms JWT’s Global Lead Role on Knorr

NEW YORK Unilever has confirmed that JWT is leading global efforts on its Knorr brand. Sources said that both JWT and another Knorr shop, Omnicom’s DDB, were considered for a new global brading project. When asked about the task, a Unilever rep responded indirectly in an e-mail, “Although it is part of our normal process to occasionally ask for two points of view on specific launches and line extensions, essentially JWT has led on global coordination and global projects.” Regionally, Knorr continues to use two shops: JWT (Europe, Asia and Latin America) and DDB (North America and Africa). Knorr’s global media spending totaled nearly $200 million last year, per Nielsen Global AdView.