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Hot Spots

Executive Shifts

Steve Heyser, former president and chief operating officer of Turner Broadcasting, a unit of AOL Time Warner, has been named president and COO of The Coca-Cola Co.
Heyser left Turner for Coke in May 2001 and has headed Coca-Cola Ventures and its Latin America operations. Heyser's promotion comes as reports have surfaced of an upcoming new round in the "cola wars" between Pepsi and Coke. The rivals are expected to spend $500 million each in new ad campaigns.

Robert D. Liodice
has been named acting president of the Association of National Advertisers, effective January 3. He will replace John Sarsen Jr., who is retiring. It's expected that Liodice, 47, will be named permanently to the position some time next year. He joined the ANA in 1995 and most recently has overseen member relations, business development, finance and administration as executive vice president.

Ad Outlook

After a dismal 2001, radio advertising will be up about 7% in 2002, says Ralph Guild, chairman of Interep. And, so far, the momentum is continuing into the new year, says Guild, who spoke on the subject at last week's UBS Warburg media conference in New York. For January, overall billings are up 20%, and sales are up in 16 of the top 20 product categories, including automotive, retail, fast food and broadcast television. Unforeseeable events aside (such as a Middle East war), Guild predicts radio will have another solid year in 2003: up 6%-8%.


The American Association of Advertising Agencies
and Association of National Advertisers
have issued a report spelling out guidelines for client-agency compensation agreements. If an agency is being compensated on a commission basis, the report concludes, the deal should guarantee a revenue floor that covers base staffing requirements. Commission-based compensation works best for larger brands, on which spending is significant and can be inappropriate for lower-spending brands, niche markets, and product introductions. But whether the agency gets a commission or fee, the best compensation agreements are "simple to understand and easy to administer," the report states. The report is by a joint task force formed last year.


In its latest move to target the Hispanic market, the financially troubled Kmart
retail chain has signed a deal with Latina singer Thalia
to distribute her signature line (The Thalia Collection) of apparel and footwear starting next summer. As part of the deal, Thalia will do ads promoting her collection in a new campaign. Cultura, Dallas is Kmart's Hispanic agency. Last spring, Kmart advertised on Univision
and other broadcast and cable networks, targeting Hispanics and African-Americans with commercials featuring Jose Feliciano, Chaka Khan and others.


has renewed its license to use Snoopy and other Charles Schultz-created Peanuts cartoon characters in its advertising for another decade. The deal, struck with licensing agent United Media, covers both domestic and international advertising. Snoopy et al have appeared in MetLife television commercials and other ads since 1985. WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, New York, is the MetLife agency.


CIT Group
broke a network-TV (broadcast and cable) campaign last week that encourages companies to "C it with CIT" when it comes to seeking funding or leasing solutions. The spots, both 15- and 30-second commercials, will run on ABC, NBC, CNN, CNBC, PBS's Newshour With Jim Lehrer and WNET(TV) New York. The Wolf Group, New York, developed the multimillion-dollar campaign for CIT.


Meow Mix Co., the marketer of the Meow Mix and Alley Cat brands of cat foods, will sponsor Meow TV, an hour special set to air early next year. The special will be hosted by Annabelle Gurwitch, co-host of TBS's Dinner & a Movie. Starting Jan. 20, she also begins hosting chores on the Sci Fi Channel talk show The Dream Team with her cat, Stinky. Elyse Roth, of Half Baked Productions, is producing the special. Talks are ongoing with networks and syndicators regarding the show's distribution.