Interpublic Downgraded by Standard and Poor's

S&P Cuts Interpublic Group of Cos Corp Credit Rtg

NEW YORK, Dec 6 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it lowered its long-term corporate credit rating to triple-'B'-minus from triple-'B' on The Interpublic Group of Cos. Inc. (IPG).

"The rating action is driven by liquidity concerns with respect to Interpublic's zero coupon convertible notes issue that is put-able to the company, for cash, on Dec. 14, 2003, at the accreted value of $587 million, and the May 2003 maturity date of the company's $500 million revolving credit facility," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Alyse Michaelson. Ms. Michaelson added that, "Consistently weaker-than-expected financial performance that is restraining the company's prospects for generating meaningful discretionary cash flow and reducing debt is also a key concern."

Well, whatever that means it sure doesn't sound good!

by Steve Hall    Dec- 6-02    

Advertising to Women 40 Plus is Smart

They may not wear nor look good in little Britney belly shirts but they have something far more valuable to advertisers: Money. Media basically ignores the older generation because there is a belief that brand loyalty is built early and it never changes. Simply not true says Myrna Blyth, publisher of More, a magazine targeting women, ages 40-60.

�This is an age group that remembers the way life used to be for women in their 40s and 50s and realises that life is so much better today,� Says Blyth.

She also says that women want to enjoy the life they have now, not some fantasy life that doesn't exist.

�Part of what we wanted to say is that it is not about looking young, it is about looking good, because that is how women of this age feel. It is not about wanting to be younger, it is about wanting to enjoy life at this stage, and it is a very positive stage.�

In terms of brand loyalty:

�Marketing used to say �get a consumer when she is young because she�ll stay loyal to her brand�. Well, we always say this is the most divorced generation in history. They can change their husband - they can change their brand.�

Her point is that there is a very big market out there that is very different from the media generated, stereotypical view of women, and culture in general. Women are hungry for media that address their real life needs. And, this group is a large and upscale one:

�One thing that is so interesting about this age group in the States - it�s the largest demographic and it is the richest demographic. That has never really happened before. This is a rare combination.�

So all you media buyers out there...there is life after 40 believe it or not.

Story: 'Over 40s shunned by women's magazines'


by Steve Hall    Dec- 6-02    

PVR's Become More Pervasive

PVR's, DVR's, Tivo's, Replay's. Call them whatever you want but they are invading the the household. it won't be long before they are an integrated part of every cable set top box and when that sort of penetration occurs, radical shifts in marketing and advertising will happen.

DVRs Open Doors for New ad sales

As if TV executives didn't have enough to worry about just considering a future where every household contains a digital video recorder. Now consumers want multiple units in their homes.

In April, about 35% of DVR users had more than one of the devices in their home, and six months later it was 43%, said Michael Collette, CEO of Ucentric Systems, a maker of software for DVRs

Ucentric is very happy about this news because Ucentric can deliver targeted ads to set top PVR boxes that are formatted in a way that can work with the "time-shifting" nature of these devices. For example, re-packaged or original targeted programming can be sent to set top boxes separately from cable or broadcast content. This programming, of course, would be sponsored in various ways such as the typical "brought to you by" or with a product placement approach.

Whether or not this particular model succeeds, it is encouraging to see companies out there that are acknowledging the change in media consumption.

More on this topic can be read here and here.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 6-02    

Pepsi Uses "Dog" to Market Mug Rootbeer

From Mediapost's Out To Launch:

Pepsi-Cola North America is introducing an animated character named Dog for its Mug Rootbeer brand. The canine will serve as the focus of ads and promotions in stores and on the Internet, as well as appear on cans, bottles and cartons. The bulldog was developed in collaboration with Character, a consulting company in Portland, Ore., that specializes in creating and reviving brand characters. The story of Dog is being told on a website developed by the Dallas office of Tribal DDB, the interactive division of the DDB Worldwide division of the Omnicom Group.
Visitors to the site are greeted by a bold headline, "The Adventures of Dog," and are invited to "Team up with Dog as he travels across America." In the initial episode, Dog is introduced as the companion of Tex, a "cowboy truck driver for Mug root beer." Dog and Tex are on a trip on the proverbial "dark and stormy night" when Tex swerves to avoid a deer and veers off the road. After the accident, Tex is taken away by ambulance. The next morning, Dog wakes up alone and heads off in search of his lost master. "What will happen to Dog next?" the final screen reads, in classic Hollywood serial-film fashion. "Check back soon to find out!"

by Steve Hall    Dec- 6-02    

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Penthouse Gets Into The Nightclub Business

Penthouse picks up where Playboy left off. Playboy's "Bunny Clubs" of the 60's and 70's didn't make it so we shall see what happens for Penthouse. With Playboy changing it's editorial to a perhaps "less nude" approach, maybe this is the opportunity for Penthouse to fill the gap that we all know will always be there. Guys will be guy, right?

Penthouse Opens First of Nightclub Chain

Penthouse Magazine plans to license a chain of upscale strip clubs around the country, hoping to cash in on its well-known name and expand its franchise as magazine sales have ebbed.

The first Penthouse Key Club was filled with customers on its grand opening Wednesday in Cleveland, and the second will open Friday in Dallas. Penthouse consultant David ''Slim" Baucom said the magazine expects to sign up about two dozen strip clubs nationwide over the next two years.


by Steve Hall    Dec- 6-02    

Sad News: Roone Arledge Dies

Pioneering TV Exec Roone Arledge Dies

Roone Arledge, a pioneering television executive at ABC News and Sports responsible for creating shows from "Monday Night Football" to "Nightline," died Thursday, an ABC News spokesman said. He was 71.

Arledge died Thursday afternoon at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, said Jeffrey Schneider, an ABC News spokesman. No cause of death was immediately given.


by Steve Hall    Dec- 6-02