NEW YORK, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Interpublic Group of Cos. Inc. IPG.N , the world's second-largest advertising group, said on Friday it will merge its Bozell unit, which created the "Got milk?" campaign, with the New York office of Lowe & Partners Worldwide to strengthen operations.
Interpublic has been weighing bids for its market research group NFO to help it provide relief to its cash-starved balance sheet. On Monday the company said it was borrowing an extra $500 million.
Interpublic shares fell more than 10 percent this week as its stock touched 10-year lows. Analysts cited concerns over costs from the new credit, loss of the Coke Classic account and legal fees related to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the company.
Interpublic said on Friday that the Bozell brand will be retired and the resulting agency will be known as Lowe New York. Bozell is also based in New York.
Gary Goldsmith, Lowe's U.S. chairman and chief creative officer, and Paul Hammersley, chief executive for Lowe in New York, will retain their current responsibilities.
Tom Bernardin, previously president and chief executive of Bozell, will join Lowe as president and chief operating officer in New York.
Lowe & Partners was founded in 1981 and is currently ranked fourth among worldwide agency groups, Interpublic said. It has offices in more than 80 countries. New York is its flagship office.
At a corporate retreat for AOL Time Warner execs, one of the items being discussed whether or not to drop the AOL part of the company name. AOL was initially a very positive entity but lately is seen as a drag on the company. No decision have been made as of yet.
This event will likely become more popular than MTV Spring Break:
Summer Blorgy 2003
From Marc Berman's Programming Insider:
"In series debut news, ABC's Are You Hot? The Search For America's Sexiest People stumbled out of the gate with a 6.7/10 from 8-10 p.m. Although this is marginally better than what ABC normally has in the two-hour block, a 6.7 is still, well, a 6.7. The morale of the story: not every reality series is poised for success."
Maybe we do want at least an excuse for a plot in our reality programming rather than just a pure flesh-a-thon. Go figure.
The surest sign that the reality genre is heading towards decline.
NBC to Offer Single Moms Up for Marriage
Kmart has taken its Joe Boxer Holiday themed microsite and converted it into a new advergame. Users can visit the site and choose how they want the dancing dude to dance. Of course, it has a viral component allowing you to forward the game to a friend. It's mildly entertaining but not so much so that it will be spread around the Internet like Mahir was.
�There has been a lot of skepticism about whether online could drive offline,� says Don Marshall, director of communications at Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive. �The light-bulbs are going off; advertisers have gotten smarter and realize it�s a real smart way to reach people.�
He is right. More and more studies point to the effectiveness of online media driving offline sales and brand awareness.
Despite the economy and looming war, The New York Times Company is doing quite well.
The New York Times says its January 2003 advertising revenues increased 5.5%, compared to the previous year. National advertising led the way, with increases in technology products, entertainment (studio and live), telecommunications and financial services spending. The retail and classified employment ad sectors continued to slump. The Times says its Boston Globe posted 3.4% increases in ad revenues last month. It is the first time the Times� numbers have included advertising for the International Herald Tribune, which the Times bough on January 1. Since it took over ad sales of IHT, advertising revenue for the international daily has increased 6.7%.
Fewer and fewer people are responding to requests by Arbitron to fill out diaries causing the company to have its lowest response rate in 20 years as reported in MediaPost.