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Four more great ads this week, from Spain, Switzerland, the US and
Amsterdam. The DDB network continues to excel for Volkswagen with this new spot from DDB Barcelona. Not just
entertaining but informative as well. I wonder if there is a term for a phobia for bad advertising...? Or perhaps for Simon Cowell?
Saatchi & Saatchi Switzerland is the unexpected source of three
interesting new spots for mobile service Orange. It's not clear whether these ads are just for Orange Switzerland, despite
being in English, or if they will also be rolled out in Orange's other markets. A nice concept. This is the best of the three, but
the other two are worth a look (here)
Omnicom-owned boutique Juniper Park is behind this beautifully shot
and inspirational new call-to-arms for PepsiCo's Quaker Oats, a traditional product that is making a surprise comeback in
And finally, awesome CG in this new viral from BSUR Amsterdam on
behalf of the Mini Countryman. Way cool.
In the news this past week: Brands &
The battle between arch-rivals Dell and HP to acquire data
storage company 3Par became even more intense, with both groups raising their offers repeatedly. Dell's first offer of $18 per
3Par share on Aug 16th was trumped on the 23rd by HP's bid of $24. Dell responded with $24.30 on the 26th, only to be countered
the same day by $27 from HP. Dell then matched that offer, only to have HP raise theirs to $30 last Friday. The ball is now in
Dell's court, and it must either raise its price to around twice the original offer or accept defeat and walk away. The Financial
Times' Lex column called the bidding war "madness" and "almost impossible to rationalise". "Few things
inspire a loss of rationality quite so much as the fear of missing out," it said. "The phenomenon is apparent around
buffet tables, in one-day sales, and now in the pursuit of 3Par". Separately, HP agreed to pay $55m to the US Justice
Department to settle allegations that it paid "influencer" fees to intermediaries working for government departments in
return for recommendations that their clients purchase HP products. Meanwhile, in its second big deal in a month, Intel
agreed to pay $1.4bn for the wireless chip division of German company Infineon. That deal will give Intel a sizeable
presence in the smartphone sector: Infineon supplies chips for the Apple iPhone among other devices.
Meanwhile, drug giant Sanofi-Aventis went public with an $18.5bn
"bear hug" bid for US biotech developer Genzyme. The French company has been trying for several months to engage
Genzyme in friendly private negotiations for an agreed takeover. However Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer has so far refused to meet his
counterpart at Sanofi, Chris Viehbacher, although he did sanction low-level discussions between both companies' advisers. As a
result of this stonewalling, Viehbacher's strategy has shifted to the "bear hug" approach, making a more threatening
statement of the offer in an attempt to influence Genzyme's board to begin talks. In his public letter, Viehbacher warns that he
is "prepared to consider all alternatives to successfully complete this transaction", suggesting that Sanofi's next step
will be to go hostile by appealing directly to Genzyme's shareholders. That might well be necessary, because Viehbacher's letter
was met once again with a refusal. Termeer's public response was "The Genzyme board is not prepared to engage in merger
negotiations with Sanofi based upon an opportunistic proposal with an unrealistic starting price that dramatically undervalues our
company." Viehbacher was quick to hit back, telling Termeer via the media, "You may not like the price, you might want a
higher price, but it is not realistic to call the price unrealistic." Sanofi-Aventis is urgently seeking to strengthen its
drug pipeline with a collection of hard-to-copy biotech products before its top-selling traditional products, much more easily
replicated by generic manufacturers, lose their patents.
Pernod-Ricard reported results for the year to June 2010. The
French drinks group scraped a modest 1% improvement in net profits to €978m on net revenues down 2% to €7.1bn as a result of
currency fluctuation. Organic sales excluding currency changes were up 2%. There was mixed performance within the portfolio.
Absolut reported a welcome 6% increase in volumes to 10.4m cases sold worldwide, and there was also good single-digit growth for
Jameson, Martell and The Glenlivet. However, #2 brand Ballantine's slipped 4% in volume, and there was a worrying 10% fall for the
group's leading wine Jacob's Creek. Sales of Mumm champagne were also hard hit, falling 9% by volume.
Nestle lived up to its responsibilities as the world's biggest
coffee processor by pledging to invest almost $500m in an ambitious new five-year programme to train independent farmers to adopt
more efficient methods of managing and developing their coffee bean crops. One key initiative will be to distribute 220m new
coffee plantlets to thousands of farmers to replace their existing, ageing and increasingly low-yield stocks. The company also
vowed to double the quantity of beans it buys directly from farmers rather than from brokers and exchanges. Because of the global
popularity of its Nescafe instant coffee brand, Nestle is by far the world's biggest coffee producer with almost 22% share of the
global market. Second-placed Kraft has 14%, while no other company has more than 6%.
Burger King was reported to be in talks with private equity funds
over a possible buyout of the group. The business was acquired in 2002 from Diageo by a trio of funds including Bain and TBG. It
was floated again in 2006, although the funds retained a combined holding of around a third of equity. Unlike arch-rival
McDonalds, however, the fast-feeder has had difficulty weathering the recession, with performance flat for the past two
years. A deal now looks increasingly likely with New York-based hedge fund 3G Capital, which represents the interests of the
three Brazilian billionaires who engineered the rapid expansion of what is now Anheuser-Busch InBev by taking control of the
former Interbrew business via their own AmBev company.
Santander expanded its footprint in the US, where it owns local
lender Sovereign Bank, by acquiring from HSBC a portfolio of auto finance loans with a combined value of around $4.3bn. The
group's rapid global expansion comes at a price though. New figures released in the UK this week showed that the British arm of
Santander, which now incorporates the former Abbey, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester chains, fielded more
customer complaints in 2010 than any other bank. The Spanish-owned bank received 216,158 new complaints in the first six months of
this year, equivalent to around one every minute of the working day. Santander's average ratio of 8 complaints for every 1,000
accounts was higher than any other bank. Barclays was the next highest offender with 5 complaints for per 1,000 accounts. The new
transparency from British banks comes at the insistence of the FSA regulator which ordered all UK lenders to make full disclosure
of complaint levels.
Japanese brewer Asahi has continued to expand its presence in the
Australian market by acquiring the country's third-largest soft drinks company, P&N Beverages, for A$364m. That company
produces a number of local branded mineral and fruit-based drinks as well as private label products for supermarkets. It had been
privately owned by managing director Robert Peter Brookes. P&N joins Schweppes Australia and Cottee's in the Asahi portfolio.
Although the Japanese company is best known for its beer it also has an extensive non-alcoholic beverages business.
French retail giant Carrefour put its stores in Thailand, Malaysia
and Singapore up for auction, attracting bids from Tesco of the UK, as well as other retailers in Asia, private equity
groups and also domestic rival Casino. Carrefour aims to achieve a valuation of between $800m and $1bn for the 61 stores.
The group's strategy is to exit territories where it ranks behind other retailers, and instead focus its attention on countries
where it can establish or build upon a leading presence.
Nike-owned sportswear manufacturer Umbro renewed its sponsorship
partnership with England's Football Association until 2018. It will continue to supply kit to the FA's Premier member clubs and
will have rights to sell replica apparel to the public.
Sears Holdings, parent to the Sears and Kmart retail chains, named
David Frieden as group SVP, marketing. Frieden joins from digital agency Razorfish, where he was most recently president,
Americas. Also in the US, BMW's VP marketing North America, Jack Pitney, was killed in a tragic gardening accident. UK
telecoms group BT confirmed David James as marketing director for consumer retail. He was previously the company's director
of customer insight and intelligence, and replaces Matthew Dearden, who left BT last month. Ben Pearman, marketing director for UK
& Ireland at Birds Eye Iglo, is leaving to join General Mills as marketing director for the EMEA region.
Shock new development! Mac, from those Mac vs PC ads from Apple,
secretly wanted to be a PC instead! Actor Justin Long, who played Mac in the long-running ad series opposite nerdy Jon Hodgman as
PC, gave an interview to Time magazine to promote his new movie. Time's Techland blog published some outtakes from the interview
this week (see
here) in which he talks about his other work, and the most surprising revelation was that Long actually envied his opposite
number on the Apple ads. "I revere John Hodgman," Long told Time. "He's far smarter and funnier than I could ever
hope to be. That's why the point of those commercials were a little lost on me. I'm actually jealous of things he got to do. I
preferred the role of the PC Guy because he got to do all the fun underdog stuff. The big choice I had to make was when do I take
my hands out of my pockets and how do I gesture or roll my eyes."
In the news this past week: Agencies
It's been a busy week at the headquarters of Interpublic's Draftfcb
network. Last Friday saw the sudden dismissal of three senior managers including Draftfcb's regional president for North America
Mark Modesto. A 30-year veteran of the agency, Modesto was reportedly accompanied from the building at short notice along with Bob
Mallers, CFO of the Chicago office which Modesto had run previously, and chief of staff Bill McCarthy, appointed by Modesto
earlier this year. No explanation was given for their sudden removal, although there are no suggestions of any financial
impropriety. Instead, their departure appears to result from a long-simmering personality clashes between the trio and top
management at the network. An Adweek report described the three men as a "disruptive troika trying for
a power-play" at the agency. George Parker's notoriously blunt Adscam blog claimed that the ousting was connected to
the current Johnson & Johnson review and a clash between management and Modesto over the role of the network's Draftfcb
Healthcare division and its CEO Dana Maiman. Indeed, immediately after Modesto's departure, Maiman was promoted to a larger role
as a member of the main Draftfcb global council, with operating responsibility for the Draftfcb New York office as well as
Draftfcb Healthcare. Modesto will not be directly replaced as regional president for North America. Instead Michael Fassnacht,
previously Draftfcb's global strategy officer, was named as the new president of Draftfcb Chicago. Fassnacht and Maiman will
report directly to network CEO Laurence Boschetto. Another rant from George Parker - as yet unconfirmed - claimed that Interpublic
is also close to dropping the near-obsolete "fcb" suffix from Draftfcb, finally consigning that once mighty brand to the
Separately, Interpublic announced the realignment of standalone unit Dailey
& Associates as a satellite of Draftfcb. Both agencies work on Nestle accounts. In a statement, the group said
"Interpublic Group saw an opportunity to strengthen its Dailey brand by aligning it more closely with Draftfcb. This move
provides Dailey and its clients with access to Draftfcb's extensive tools and resources as well as a global network. While the two
agencies will continue to operate independently, this alignment should immediately benefit Dailey's current clients and hopefully
others down the road." At the same time Dailey's CCO Steve Rabosky departed the agency, and Tom Lehr is promoted to
Richard Glasson, chief executive of Anglo-American integrated marketing
services agency GyroHSR, has resigned as chief executive, and was replaced by chief creative officer Christoph Becker.
Glasson will remain as chairman for an interim period.
Aegis and Havas reported half year figures. Aegis, parent to
the Carat and Vizeum media networks, unveiled an 8% increase in pretax profits to GBP 48.3m, on revenues up 4% to GBP 663.3m. On
an organic basis, excluding the effects of currency, revenues were up 2.4%. Best growth came from Asia, up 25% reported, 18%
organic. Performance at Havas was similar, with revenues also up 4% to €729m, although net profits jumped an impressive 22.5% to
E49m. The organic increase in revenue was just under 2% for the first half, some way behind rival groups. For Havas, the strongest
growth came from Latin America, up 25% compared to first half 2009. North America was also encouraging at 5%, and the UK was a
lone bright spot in an otherwise depressed Western Europe. Havas's chairman and controlling shareholder Vincent Bollore suggested
that the group's improved finances would allow him to begin considering acquisitions. "It doesn't mean we want to make one
big shot but some different acquisitions in different countries."
Microsoft expanded its agency roster in the US and UK, moving
briefs previously held by the JWT network. In the US, the software giant appointed Deutsch to develop the debut campaign
for its Windows Azure cloud computing service, which rents out space on the company's vast array of servers to corporate
customers. In the UK, VCCP and affiliated CRM unit Stephens Francis Whitson were awarded the account for Microsoft
Interpublic-owned Carmichael Lynch resigned the business of iconic
motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson after a 31-year run. President Doug Spong told AdAge the agency wanted to focus its
attention on new business it has picked up over the summer and said "we just feel like we've taken [the Harley-Davidson]
brand as far as we can go".
In other assignments, Red Bull called a review of US media,
currently held by indie Siltanen & Partners. Footwear manufacturer Ecco appointed Universal McCann to global
media. PepsiCo consolidated its media business in Australia with PHD. For all appointments, subscribers can access
the full Adbrands Account Assignments database here.
In the news this past
The content land-grab currently being undertaken by technology and
telecoms companies continued apace. Google was reported to be in advanced negotiations with several major Hollywood studios
to launch a global pay-per-view movie service through YouTube before the end of 2010. The service is expected to debut in the US,
before rolling out in other markets during the course of 2011. Under the proposed arrangement, movies would become available
online at the same time that they are released on video and to other streaming or download services. Amazon, which already
offers a movie download service, is also in talks with TV content owners including Viacom and Time Warner about starting a
broadband subscription television. Meanwhile, Apple relaunched its Apple TV streaming service, cutting the price of some
ABC and Fox TV show rentals to 99 cents, and offering streamed movies from rental service Netflix. It also launched a new
music-centred social network, Ping, which seems designed specifically to crush News Corp's MySpace. Simultaneously, Sony
launched its own MusicUnlimited service which will offer streaming music to its own devices via a network of
France's widely diversified Lagardere conglomerate vowed to press ahead
with the floatation of its 20% shareholding in the country's dominant pay-TV operator Canal+ after failing to agree a price
for the sale of those shares to Vivendi, which owns the other 80% of equity. Lagardere is asking €1.5bn for the stake, which is
more than Vivendi is prepared to pay. The offering is not likely to happen before 2011; however Vivendi is confident that
Lagardere will have difficulty achieving the price it expects and is waiting to mop up the outstanding shares at a discount.
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