Chicago Sun-Times
Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

March 2010 Archives

Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 was one of 36 recipients of the 69th annual Peabody Awards announced Wednesday. The station was recognized by the 16-member Peabody Board for its coverage of the fatal beating of Chicago student Derrion Albert.
The brutal tragedy wound up having national repercussions. "The award speaks for itself," said WFLD general manager Michael Renda.

The Peabody Award, the first in WFLD's history, comes as the station has begun making a substantial number of changes to its news operation to try and improve its last-place standing in the Nielsen late local news ratings.

The Peabody Board does not hand out its awards in specific categories, but rather selects its award recipients based solely on the quality of the work submitted for consideration. There are no set number of awards handed out each year.

The Peabody Awards are the oldest honor in the electronic media, including television, radio, networks, cablecasters, Webcasters, producing organizations and individuals. The Peabody Awards are overseen by the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The 16-member Peabody Board is comprised of television critics, broadcast and cable industry executives, academics and experts in culture and the arts.

Chicago's newest smooth jazz outlet WLFM-FM (87.7) continues to expand its programming under program director Rick O'Dell. "Sounds of Brazil," hosted by Scott Adams, can now be heard at midnight on Saturdays on the station. "Scott Adams turns every one of his shows into a sun-splashed guided tour of Brazilian music," said O'Dell. "Sounds of Brazil" originated in Chicago in 1992. The decision to add "Sounds of Brazil" to the WLFM line-up came directly from listeners, according to station general manager Pat Kelley.

Also new to WLFM is "Sunrise Soundscapes," a potpourri of mellower smooth jazz that will air from 8 to 10 am on Sunday mornings.

Oak Brook-based PureCircle, a manufacturer of stevia-derived sweeteners, has named Euro RSCG/Chicago its integrated ad agency of record and Ketchum its public relations agency of record. Euro RSCG will develop consumer advertising, including digital, for the company.

PureCircle also is maintaining a relationship with London-based Still Waters Run Deep, which has done brand identity and Web site work for the company. The current plan is to accelerate the mainstreaming of stevia-sweetened products with new work from Euro RSCG debuting in late spring or early summer.

"Global demand for naturally sweet, reduced-calorie solutions made with stevia is growing at a rapid pace," said Jason Hecker, group marketing director for PureCircle. "We are excited to work with PureCircle to help them meet the huge increase in consumer and manufacturing demand for naturally sweet, zero and low-calorie food and beverage products," said Jamie King, co-president of Euro RSCG/Chicago.

Yoga.jpgCrocs, the distinctive footwear made of a substance called Croslite, launches its first global marketing campaign from Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago this week -- timed to coincide with the debut of the brand's spring and summer shoe line for women, men and children.

Perhaps deemed a fad when the brand debuted several years ago, Crocs now appears to be intent on sticking around for the long haul. "Our new campaign will reinforce what Crocs really stands for -- cheeky innovation in the form of a feather-light, odor-resistant, form-to-fit shoe," said Ken Chaplin, vice president of marketing for Crocs.

The tagline for the new ad campaign is "Feel the Love," and C-K seems to be going for a bit of a warm and fuzzy feel in the new advertising. Without getting too warm and fuzzy, mind you. There also a new character called Croslite who will be woven into the campaign. We'll have more to say about the work in next Monday's ad column.

Sources report that insurance behemoth State Farm has been courting Chicago actor turned Hollywood star Jeremy Piven to be a TV spokesman for the company. It's unclear, at this juncture, whether Piven has been successfully signed to do any work for State Farm, which is now using creative from both DraftFCB/Chicago and DDB/Chicago. Piven was the subject of some unflattering publicity when he abruptly pulled out of a Broadway production of David Mamet's "Speed the Plow" in late 2008. He claimed he was suffering from mercury poisoning. Piven is perhaps best known as the star of the popular cable television series "Entourage."

Chicago Public Radio WBEZ-FM (91.5) has opened its fourth community bureau at 2913 W. Devon Avenue in the Rogers Park neighborhood under the direction of newly-named north side bureau reporter Odette Yousef. With the addition of the Rogers Park bureau, WBEZ will now operate four community bureaus in Chicago and northwest Indiana. Yousef, 28, has devoted her professional career to public radio. She joins WBEZ following three years as a general assignment reporter at WABE-FM (90.1) in Atlanta. Focusing on health, education and city government, Yousef produced both daily spots and feature length stories and reported an award-winning series on systemic flaws in the Fulton County 911 Communications Center. WBEZ established the first of its community bureaus in Homboldt Park in 2007, and has sense added Englewood; Chesterton, Ind., and now Rogers Park.

Bill Gamble has departed his dual post as program director for WUSN-FM (99.5) and WCFS-FM (105.9), both CBS Radio Chicago outlets. Gamble lasted about 10 months on the job, during which time WUSN-FM continued to be a top-10 performer in the 25-to-54 adult demo in the Arbitron ratings. WCFS-FM has shown some success in attracting more women listeners, but just days before his exit Gamble conceded more work needed to be done to get that station where it needs to be in the ratings. CBS Radio has been aggressively running ads promoting WCFS in recent months.

WCFS had been rumored in recent months to be the outlet CBS Radio might use to simulcast sports talk WSCR-AM (670) on the FM band, but sources within CBS Radio Chicago say there are no plans to do that on WCFS or any other CBS Radio FM outlet in the Chicago market at this time. Sources also said CBS Radio market manager Rod Zimmerman may opt to bring in separate program directors for WUSN and WCFS or possibly go with one PD for both stations again.

Rivet/Chicago has hired Lori Murphy as head of client services. With more than 15 years of experience, Murphy was previously a senior vice-president, director of client services at OgilvyAction/Chicago. She held several other account management positions with the agency, including 141 Worldwide and Davidson Marketing before they merged with Ogilvy. During her tenure at OgilvyAction, Murphy specialized in consumer packaged goods, working on brands such as Kellogg, Oscar Mayer and Nabisco.

In her new role at Rivet, Murphy will manage and develop client relationships and will have an active role in business development. NIPSCO, Kellogg Pop-Tarts and Wagner paint are among the agency's top clients. "Lori is a strong leader, energetic champion of ideas and a confident, independent thinker," said Rivet managing director Tom Hansen.

Comcast SportsNet Chicago will delve into the lives of some of the biggest names in Chicago sports in a new half-hour, monthly, one-on-one interview series called "The Point After," hosted by "Chicago Tribune Live" host David Kaplan. For "The Point After's" premiere on Apr. 2 at 9 p.m., Kaplan will interview Chicago Blackhawks player and United States Olympian Patrick Kane. Among the topics discussed in the interview are Kane's leaving home at an early age, his family, life off the ice and the importance of his relationship with his team. Plus Kane will talk about how he was affected by the 2008 firing of his first NHL coach Denis Savard.

This will be Byron Harlan's final weekend at WFLD-Channel 32, where he had been co-anchoring the station's weekend newscasts for some 13 years. Harlan's contract was not renewed. His departure is part of an on-going shakeup of the WFLD news department since the arrival last fall of Michael Renda as the station's general manager. In conjunction with station news director Carol Fowler, Renda is seeking to make WFLD a real contender in the local news ratings competition. WFLD has typically been at the bottom of the barrel in the ratings. For now, Harlan's co-anchor Nancy Pender will anchor WFLD's weekend newscast solo. A new WFLD weekend news co-anchor is expected to be named at a later date.

A WGN-Channel 9 spokeswoman has confirmed that general assignment reporter Antwan Lewis left the station earlier this week. He is moving to New York to take on an as-yet unidentified new broadcast job in that market.

Lewis had been with WGN News for three years, and over the course of his time there he contributed to the station's morning, midday and flagship 9 p.m. newscasts. In January, 2008, he became the lead reporter of WGN's on-going series "The Fugitive Hunters." Prior to joining WGN, Lewis spent four years as a reporter and fill-in anchor at KTVK-TV in Phoenix.

Lewis' duties at Channel 9 will be handled by free-lance reporters currently working for the station. A decision on a permanent replacement is expected within a few weeks.

Anne State out at WBBM-Channel 2

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Early news anchor and reporter Anne State exited CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 Thursday. Sources said her departure was by mutual agreement between her and station management. She is believed to no longer be under contract at Channel 2. Under previous WBBM general manager Joe Ahern, State had arrived at the station from San Diego in 2008 in the wake of star anchor Diann Burns' departure. State was initially being groomed as the next big female anchor talent at the station.

But with the arrival of new GM Bruno Cohen and news director Jeff Kiernan in late 2008, State's role was downgraded. In recent months, she had been co-anchoring the station's early newscasts and doing general assignment reporting. For now, Rob Johnson will carry on as solo anchor of both the station's early and late news. "We appreciate Anne's contributions and wish her the very best in her future endeavors," said Kiernan.

GERTRUDE_PN8_CHICAGO.jpgAs it did last year, Gertrude/Chicago will host the annual Portfolio Night in Chicago this year. The event, which allows prospective young ad creatives to have their portfolios critiqued by professionals in the business, will take place in Chicago and some 35 cities worldwide on May 20, 2010. Gertrude/Chicago plans to host this year's event at the Cobra Lounge. "Once again we are looking forward to the turnout of young creatives and creative directors who truly drive this event," said Otis D. Gibson, founder and chief creative officer of Gertrude. Additional sponsors of Portfolio Night in Chicago include Leo Burnett, DDB, Resolution Digital Studios and Captivate Network.

Among those local creative executives scheduled to evaluate the work on May 20 are: Euro RSCG chief creative officer Blake Ebel; Euro RSCG chief creative officer Steffan Postaer, Tribal DDB executive creative director David Hernandez and Proximity BBDO senior vice-president Kevin Lynch.

Nick Paul.jpgNick Paul has been named executive vice-president, chief growth officer for DraftFCB North America. He will report to Mark Modesto, president of DraftFCB/North America. Paul most recently was executive vice-president, director of business development for DraftFCB/Chicago. In his new role, Paul will work closely with DraftFCB's New York, Chicago, west coast and Canadian agencies to more closely align efforts in identifying and pitching prospective clients.

As appropriate, Paul plans to assemble a team of talent, spanning cities, to bring together the agency's best in both category and marketing expertise as he pursues new business. A portion of his time also will be devoted to advance a new business strategy across the agency's global network. "Building teams is just one thing Nick excels at doing," said Modesto, adding "He is competitive in the best possible way." Paul joined Foote Cone & Belding in 2003, as vice-president and general manager for its 361 Sports & Event Marketing unit. Within three months, he was named head of the unit.

Chicago public radio WBEZ-FM (91.5) is at the center of a new Corporation for Public Broadcasting initiative called the Upper Midwest Local Journalism Center. WBEZ, in collaboration with Michigan Radio (WUOM-FM (91.7) in Ann Arbor and Detroit, WFUM-FM (91.1) in Flint, and WVGR-FM (104.1) in Grand Rapids) and Cleveland's Ideastream (WCPN-FM (90.3) and WVIZ-TV) will focus on covering the economic transformation of the upper midwest and the challenges and opportunities facing the industrial heartland.

Under the editorial direction of WBEZ, the three partnering entities will create multi-media content and report their work via radio, television, digital and community programs. The three partnering organizations will hire three reporters, a senior editor and a senior producer. The project's editor and one reporter will be based in Chicago.

The Upper Midwest Local Journalism Center is one of seven such centers being formed around the country through a two-year grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and financial contributions from the participating broadcast outlets.

Altogether, some $10.5 million is earmarked for the venture's first two years, after which time the hope is the project will become self-sustaining. "Our work showcasing the Great Lakes will continue the station's long-standing commitment to regional coverage and collaboration," said WBEZ managing editor Sally Eisele.

More on the Bob Garfield exit. After word began leaking out Wednesday about Bob Garfield's exit as ad reviewer from Advertising Age, the trade publication wasted no time trying to put its own spin on developments -- something to be expected, we suppose, from media types who know a little something about "spin" from first-hand experience.

Garfield, as we stated yesterday, will keep at least a finger in the Ad Age editorial mix via a column on the digital revolution called "Listenomics," per a note posted on the Ad Age Web site today by Ad Age's Abbey Klaassen. The new column's frequency was not mentioned in Klaassen's posting. Apparently, Garfield also will go into consulting, but again nothing specific about that yet.

Most interestingly, what was omitted from Klaassen's report is that a story is now being researched and written by a reporter working for Ad Age that is supposed to run concurrently with Garfield's final ad review column -- a 2,500 word opus, we're told, that he has already penned.

From what we were able to glean from one source, Garfield's farewell piece is pure, self-aggrandizing Garfield at his best. So much so, in fact, that Ad Age felt compelled to run a countervailing article to provide a more balanced assessment of Garfield's contributions to -- and place in -- Ad Age's long history.

Garfield, however, insists the accompanying article was assigned at his suggestion long before any Ad Age editor ever saw his finished farewell piece.

In any event, get ready folks. Sounds like there's some fun reading in the offing.

Sources report that Bob Garfield, long-time ad critic for Advertising Age, is preparing to exit the trade publication in early April. Garfield's departure will leave critic Barbara Lippert of competing trade pub Adweek as the only writer regularly critiquing advertising for the industry's trade publications. Garfield reportedly will still be an occasional contributor to Ad Age.

Garfield has been writing advertising critiques for decades, though his work for Ad Age seemed to have taken on a somewhat lower profile in recent months -- perhaps a prelude to his departure. Like some others who have covered the ad industry for a lengthy period of time, Garfield, in his reviews in recent years, seemed to reveal a growing disdain for the increasingly subpar creative efforts of many ad agencies -- that is when he wasn't being overly and smugly self-referential, a characteristic of his writing for which he was well-known.

Ed Curran.jpgA WBBM-Channel 2 spokeswoman has confirmed that weatherman and technology reporter Ed Curran will sit out the remainder of his contract at the station. No decision has been made about whether Curran will be replaced.

WBBM, like almost every TV outlet in the market, has been busy paring staff and cutting overhead the past year -- part of an effort to improve bottom line performance as advertising revenue has declined -- significantly in some instances. In recent months, Curran had been appearing on the station's early evening newscasts and occasionally filling in for lead WBBM weatherman Steve Baskerville on the flagship 10 p.m. news.

Prior to the launch of "Monsters & Money in the Morning," Curran had been the weatherman on the station's early morning show. Mary Kay Kleist has been doing weather reporting for the "Monsters" show. With Curran gone, WBBM will still have three meteorologists on staff: Don Schwenneker, Kleist and Baskerville.

Print ad.JPGRiverwoods-based Discover Card is launching a new ad campaign designed to emphasize the value to the consumer in having and using the card. The ads will talk about Discover Card's cash rewards program, its customer service and its heritage as no annual fee card. The hope is that the campaign will keep current cardholders loyal and encourage those consumers who don't currently use a Discover Card to reconsider.

In conjunction with broadcast partner WGN-Channel 9, the Chicago Blackhawks will air the third episode of Blackhawks TV, an all-access 30-minute television show that includes a variety of segments highlighting Hawks players' personalities off the ice. The show will air on WGN on Sunday, Mar. 28, at 8:30 pm, or immediately following the Blackhawks game against the Columbus Blue Jackets that begins at 6:30 pm.

Among other things, the third installment includes a behind-the-scenes segment with Patrick Kane at the 2010 Winter Olympics and a segment on players at home with their dogs. Located on www.chicagoblackhawks.com, Blackhawks TV has received over five million video views this season. The previous two episodes ran on Dec. 25, on Comcast SportsNet Chicago and on Feb. 14, on WGN-Channel 9. Both of those installments can be seen in their entirety at www.chicagoblackhawks.com.

Canada's Porter Airlines is quietly looking for a Chicago-based agency to handle what spokesman Brad Cicero characterized as market-specific advertising projects for the carrier. In this instance those projects, of course, would be Chicago-specific. United Kingdom-based Winkreative has handled all of Porter's systemwide branding and advertising needs since the airline launched three-and-a-half years ago. Porter marketing executives reportedly visited several Chicago ad agencies (fewer than five said Cicero) in recent days. Two by Four/Chicago and Zig/Chicago (which has its roots in Toronto) are believed to be among the shops Porter looked at.

Porter commenced service to Chicago's Midway Airport from its primary hub in Toronto in the fall of 2008, and the airline has been a hugely visible and aggressive advertiser of its non-stop service in Chicago's daily newspapers, among other places. Quietly, some Chicago ad executives have questioned whether Porter's current print advertising does a sufficiently good job of conveying the relatively high-end Porter in-flight experience, which includes complimentary beverage service in real glasses and boxed snacks on all flights. The carrier flies modern turboprop planes. "That raccoon maybe isn't the best way to tout what Porter offers," said one local ad executive, a reference to a raccoon character that appears in numerous Porter display ads.

Porter spokesman Cicero said it would probably take company executives another week or two to review all that they saw and heard in their visits to Chicago agencies, and at that point they will have a better sense of what kind of marketing projects they may want to undertake in Chicago and which local agency would be best suited for the task.

Penny Penniston headshot[1].jpgThe ad world is coming to the stage in a new world premiere farce from former ad agency copywriter turned Jeff Award-winning playwright Penny Penniston. The show is called "Spin," and it will have its world premiere engagement starting April 16, at the new Theater Wit at 1229 W. Belmont, a trio of performance spaces carved out of the former Bailiwick Arts Centre at a cost of more than $1.2 million.

"Spin" is said to be the story of recently-divorced Brent, who has just lost his high-paying job as an art director at an advertising agency. He then decides to fall back on Plan B and remake himself. Armed with self-help books about Buddhism, Brent takes in a street kid and renounces his worldly possessions. But when tempted with prestige and cash by an advertising friend, Brent sells his life over to a beer company. Literally. From that point on apparently, much mayhem and some serious self-examination ensue.

We'll have more on this venture as information becomes available. Rehearsals, we're told, commenced Monday.

Chi Chi.jpgOmar Romero, program director of Mega 95.5 (WNUA-FM) has tapped Chi Chi to host evening from 7 to midnight. At the age of 16, Chi Chi became the youngest DJ on WPOW-FM (96.5) in Miami. She hosted the "Power Love Hour" weekdays from 10 pm to midnight. After a year in that time slot, Chi Chi was promoted to afternoon host, where she had a top-rated show for five years. She then moved to San Antonio in 2006 to join KPWT-FM (106.7) as afternoon host. Romero said Chi Chic "has a lot to bring to the table" at Mega 95.5. Chi Chi said "if you see me on the streets of Chicago, let's celebrate."

Deerfield-based Jim Beam Bourbon is teaming up with sports behemoth ESPN to launch "The Next Round -- Served Up by Jim Beam," a Web series hosted by ESPN personality and journalist Scoop Jackson. He will interact with famous guests and discuss the news with a focus on sports and pop culture. Jackson has covered sports and culture for more than 15 years.

"The Next Round" will debut on April 3, during the first commercial break of "Sports Center" airing at 10 p.m. central daylight time and on ESPN.com. New content will air every two weeks on ESPN.com.

Segments will be taped in Los Angeles in a custom-built studio and at remote locations, including cities hosting major sporting events. The Web series premiere will be shot in a Boston bar to coincide with baseball's opening day. "We like to create legendary experiences for guys, and we know that they bond over Jim Beam cocktails and sports," said Kelly Doss, senior director, bourbons,f or Beam Global Spirits & Wines.

Joanie Lum has joined Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 as a reporter for the station's five-hour morning show "Good Day Chicago." She will make her first on-air appearance the week of April 19. Lum has more than 20 years experience as a TV news reporter in the Chicago market. She most recently was a general assignment reporter at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 for six years. Previously, she spent 16 years as a general assignment reporter for Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9. "We're pleased to have a reporter of Joanie's caliber joining Fox Chicago News," said WFLD General Manager Michael Renda, adding "her distinguished work has made her a fixture in the Chicago broadcasting community."

Two by Four/Chicago is one of 42 agencies competing for the prestigious OBIE Best of Show award. Two by Four is nominated for its Chicago Bears "One City. One Team." campaign, which celebrates the indelible connection between the the team and Bears fans. The OBIE Awards recognize creative excellence in outdoor advertising and are the oldest awards program in the ad industry. Two by Four is competing against agencies such as Cramer-Krasselt, Wieden + Kennedy, Euro RSCG/Chicago, and Crispin Porter + Bogusky. The 2010 OBIE Award winners will be announced at a gala celebration in Phoenix, Ariz., on May 4. Steffan Postaer, chairman and chief creative officer of Euro RSCG/Chicago will emcee the event.

Young & Rubicam/Chicago has been named agency of record for Einstein Bros. Bagels. As agency of record, Y&R will handle creative, digital and media initiatives. The win came after a review that included three other agencies. "We had immediate chemistry wit the team and can't wait to get to work," said Kary McIlwain, president of Young & Rubicam/Chicago.

There are over 350 Einstein Bros. locations in 27 states. Einstein Bros. Bagels was named one of the top 10 healthiest restaurant chains by Health Magazine in 2009. "We were impressed with the integrated ideas the agency (Y&R) delivered both on and offline," said James O'Reilly, chief concept officer for Einstein Noah Restaurant Group.

Ash-har Quaraishi.jpgAsh-har Quraishi is, without question, a sign of things to come in the journalism biz. He is joining the ranks of Chicago-based journalists wearing at least two hats -- TV correspondent and print reporter. Nowadays, it helps for journalists to have as many useful skills as possible with staffs at almost all news outlets much smaller than they were as recently as five years ago. Public television outlet WTTW-Channel 11 and the Chicago News Cooperative, a new local-news-oriented entity launched last fall, will share the services of Quraishi, who most recently was an investigative reporter for KCTV-Channel 5 in Kansas City, Mo. Quraishi also previously served as CNN's bureau chief in Islamabad, Pakistan. In his new dual role, Quraishi will report for WTTW's "Chicago Tonight" and for the Chicago News Cooperative, which currently provides a Chicago-focused news report twice weekly for the New York Times. "With his investigative reporting experience, his superior digital skills and the fact that he was raised in Chicago and is a product of our public schools, we expect he (Quraishi) will be a major asset to 'Chicago Tonight,' wttw.com and the Chicago News Cooperative," said Dan Schmidt, president and CEO of WTTW.

wodarz.jpgTris3ct/Chicago has added three new members to its senior leadership team: Jennie Logan, Martin Wodarz and Linda Holland. Logan was named group account director and will be responsible for the Kellogg and Kimberly-Clark accounts. Most recently, Logan was director of pitch management for Arc Worldwide and Leo Burnett. Wodarz was named group creative director reporting to chief creative officer Paul Kuzma. Wodarz will work on Kellogg, Kawasaki and Old Style accounts. Wodarz most recently was creative director at Arc and Burnett. Holland was named a creative director and will work on the agency's Alberto Culver account. Tris3ct has recently added new clients Kimberly-Clark and Kellogg, hired 15 new staff and more than doubled its office space in Chicago's west loop district.

Euro Paddle Royale 1.jpgFor all of you who have been waiting -- breathlessly we know -- the results of the Euro RSCG/Chicago agency-wide table tennis tourney are finally in. We can report there was a huge upset. Group creative director Bernie Gomez defeated defending champion David Greenbaum, director, digital, by winning four straight games, in this the agency's third annual tourney. Gomez had reached the final four round in each of the past tournaments, but this marks his first victory. "I think it's great that Euro RSCG encourages camaraderie in the agency and allows people to release some stress through table tennis; winning makes it even sweeter," said Gomez. Spoken like a true champion.

Representatives from Killerspin, the tourney sponsor, and table tennis star Biba were on hand to officiate. Now with this tourney concluded, it's back to work for all those dedicated Euro RSCG staffers, who will at least have their camaraderie to tide them over til next year's event.

To capitalize on recent business growth, Jacobson Rost is moving its headquarters from Sheboygan, Wis., to Milwaukee on May 1. The move will bring 35 jobs to Milwaukee. The agency plans to add another five to 10 employees to its Milwaukee operation over the next 18 months, while continuing to grow its Chicago and Boston offices with the addition of another 20 employees. Jacobson Rost currently employs a staff of 55 creative and marketing professionals.

The agency spent the last five decades headquartered in Sheboygan, but now the headquarters office will be in Milwaukee's Third Ward in the historic Saddlery Building at 233 N. Water St. In conjunction with the move, Jacobson Rost will unveil a new logo and redesigned Web site.

Director of Sales Wendi Powers is leaving Tribune Co.-owned WGN-AM (720) to become general manager of three FM stations operated by Cox Radio in Tampa, Fla. Jeff Hill has been tapped to fill Power's job at WGN. He had been the station's local sales manager. Matt Munro, who joined the station in 2004, was named local sales manager.
Power joined WGN as an account executive in 1995, and was promoted to local sales manager in 1998, followed by another promotion to director of sales in 2003. "We are very fortunate to have benefitted from Wendi's leadership, creativity and passion," said WGN general manager Tom Langmyer, as he announced the new sales management structure.

Euro RSCG Paddle Royale Poster.jpgPerhaps you've heard. They've been busy playing table tennis over at Euro RSCG/Chicago. After all, one has to do something while waiting for the next big idea to percolate. The agency's Paddle Royale tournament (notice the fancy French treatment, please) is expected to conclude this afternoon as the two finalists David Greenbaum, a director of digital, and Bernie Gomez, a group creative director, face off to determine who will become Paddle Royale champion. Greenbaum and Gomez bested 62 other players to get to the finals. Ever mindful of the importance of sponsors in any endeavor, Euro RSCG lassoed Killerspin as a sponsor of the shop's table tennis tourney. Of course, we will advise you of the outcome of the finals as soon as it is known. In the meantime, keep breathing my friends.

Cramer-Krasselt has promoted Karen Seamen, 53, to the new post of chief operating officer. Throughout her 21-year career with C-K, Seamen has been instrumental in the development and evolution of the agency's integrated model spanning advertising, media, interactive and engagement strategies. She was elevated to general manager of C-K's Chicago office in 2006, and has helped drive the agency's new business development.

Peter Krivkovich, C-K CEO and president, said Seamen will promote collaboration among C-K's four offices and help put the agency on the path to becoming the nation's largest independent ad agency. It is currently in second place. Seamen also will continue in her role as general manager of C-K/Chicago.

This much is clear -- very clear -- from several of the new TV commercials low-fare behemoth Southwest Airlines and its ad agency GSD&M Idea City/Austin are launching today. The "Grab You Bag. It's On!" theme isn't going away from the Southwest marketing game plan.

If anything, Southwest, in this latest round of spots, is getting more aggressive about promoting its "bags fly free" policy. In one of the new spots, a group of real Southwest baggage handlers is seen rushing towards another plane on the tarmac that, based on the livery, appears to belong to AirTran, though the carrier's name has been blocked out on screen. The baggage handlers stop before reaching the plane, collectively lift their shirts to reveal a message about the Southwest baggage policy emblazoned on their collective bellies. A female passenger seen in a seat inside the plane looks out and obviously gets the message. It would be hard to miss, if we were in her place.

Other spots in the new series show more real Southwest employees (no pretty and perfectly-toned actors anywhere in sight) touting, among other things, free snacks and point-to-point flights, all trademarks of Southwest service. We like Southwest's decision to use real employees in its new spots. They lend a note of veracity to the work -- which can't hurt, given that so many viewers tend to cast a suspicious eye on advertising when picture-perfect people are seen trying to sell them on something.

Meanwhile, Southwest will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its start of service to Midway Airport on Wednesday, Mar. 17, with some speeches and the presentation of a gift to airport officials at the Southwest main ticketing desk at Midway.

Substance/Chicago, a visual communications firm, has been tapped to handle strategic and creative development for the AIDS Walk & Run 2010. This marks the first time a single creative agency has been designated for both strategic and creative efforts. "We made a concentrated effort at the beginning of 2010 to partner with high visibility not-for-profits doing good work for the community," said Matthew Brett, president of Substance. "Given the challenging economy, it also gives these groups the ability to have a creative resource that is more affordable than a larger agency without compromising on the creative," added Brett. Substance clients include Illinois Humanities Council, Duff & Phelps, Northwestern University and YMCA of the USA.

One of few fun pieces of business in the Euro RSCG/Chicago client portfolio has exited the agency. We're talking about Potbelly Sandwich Works, which has been busy expanding its store footprint the past year, as it also has been expanding its menu offerings. The restaurant chain now offers a broader array of sandwiches in various sizes. And Potbelly has been aggressively testing different soup and cookie offerings, with the apparent goal of improving the variety and upgrading the taste profile of some of its other menu items. A Potbelly spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment. But a Euro RSCG spokesman said Potbelly and Euro RSCG mutually agreed to part ways. Potbelly is believed to have taken its advertising in-house, at least for now.

BBDO/New York, the new agency of record for Orbitz.com, could be a reasonably good fit for the travel Web site. You see, BBDO has had some experience dealing with a dysfunctional client. A big one called PepsiCo. While Chicago-based Orbitz.com isn't an operation anywhere near so big as PepsiCo, it's certainly displayed just about as much dysfunctionality in recent years, especially when it comes to advertising issues. Orbitz has churned through more ad agencies and marketing chiefs than we care to count.

That wouldn't be such an issue, really, if the work that all these marketing honchos and agencies produced had been great stuff. But it hasn't been. Most of it, in fact, has been dreadful. Which is another reason Orbitz can be glad BBDO has signed on with the company. They are certainly capable of doing well-above-average work, though their track record of late has been a bit spotty. Whether Orbitz's current marketing chief Deborah Italiano can work with BBDO to craft a smart new campaign that doesn't make the Web site seem to be a place where dummies go for their travel needs remains to be seen. But both will need to work fast to ensure yet another Orbitz marketing upheaval doesn't derail the whole effort.

Congrats to Clear Channel Radio Chicago market manager Earl Jones and syndicated talk show host Steve Harvey (whose show airs on Clear Channel Radio's WVAZ-FM (102.7). They have been singled out as among the most influential African Americans in radio by the trade publication Radio Ink. In his blurb in the publication, Harvey said: "I believe that leaders need a clear vision and purpose. At the same time, it's a group effort -- you need a trusted team supporting you in order to achieve your goals." In his blurb in RI, Jones said: "A good manager creates a positive, creative environment where everyone can achieve, grow and succeed."

Stevens & Tate Marketing/Lombard is offering a $30,000 marketing plan to a deserving health care agency through its "Lend-A-Hand Marketing Giveaway" contest. The agency will develop marketing and media strategies, Internet strategies, creative, ad messaging, Web site development, social media and other parts of a comprehensive, customized plan based on the national winner's marketing needs. The contest is open to any not-for-profit organization involved in the delivery of health care or health information. The deadline for entries is April 9, 2010. A panel of Stevens & tate directors will review and evaluate all applications. The winner will be selected and notified by April 23, 2010. For applications and further information, visit the Stevens & Tate Web site at www.stevens-tate.com

So Ben Kline departs Leo Burnett/Chicago. That should surprise no one who has followed the fortunes of Burnett and Kline for the past several years. Kline was, once upon a time, supposedly at Burnett to help drum up new business. When Kline pretty much failed as a rainmaker in that capacity, Burnett leader Rich Stoddart shuffled him off to do some other chores, and Kline pretty much dropped from site. That was a while ago. When we lunched with Kline, we found him to be a perfectly pleasant chap. Articulate. Rather charming.

But facades can be deceiving, especially in the slick business of advertising. And while we enjoyed our time with Kline, it became evident to us he wasn't getting the job done at Burnett. Given all the internal politics and other stuff that has for a long time made it difficult to get anything done in the Kremlin -- as Burnett has been dubbed by several former long-time employees -- perhaps we shouldn't hold it against Kline. But he probably should have had a better sense of what he was getting into before accepting a position at Burnett.

In any event, we're still waiting for that big new business win -- or creative breakthrough -- that would suggest Burnett is really starting a new and more promising chapter in its storied history. We continue to worry that it could be a long wait indeed.

All-news WBBM-AM (780) has a new managing editor Julie Mann. She takes over the responsibilities formerly handled by Drew Hayes, who left the station last month to become operations director at news/talk WLS-AM (890). Mann has been WBBM's suburban bureau chief since 2002. She first joined the station in 1997. WBBM program director Ron Gleason said Mann, among other things, will handle story assignments for the station's stable of reporters and various other managerial responsibilities tied to WBBM's day-to-day operations. Meanwhile, Gleason said WBBM is still perhaps a couple of months away from selecting a new permanent morning drive co-anchor to pair with Felicia Middlebrooks.

Respected Chicago businessman Joe Mansueto has acquired a controlling interest in Time Out Chicago, the five-year-old weekly entertainment listings guide that is still seeking to realize its full potential.

When TOC debuted, Mansueto, the founder and CEO of investment research firm Morningstar, had a 50 percent stake in the weekly publication. But many of the business decisions regarding the magazine were made out of New York by members of the management team running Time Out New York. The editorial formula for both the Chicago and New York publications is similar to that of the original London magazine, which has long been a popular read and resource for both residents of the English capital and tourists visiting there. But now that he has upped his stake in the Time Out Chicago, Mansueto will have the primary say in how the magazine is managed and edited.

Sources familiar with its original business plan said TOC hoped to have a paid circulation of around 100,000 within five years, but the current circulation is believed to be closer to 40,000. Some observers maintain a key to making TOC a viable property long-term is its Web operations. Initially, the magazine's online offerings were only available to subscribers, but they now are more readily accessible by all visitors.

Though almost all general interest consumer magazines have struggled mightily in recent years to hold on to their circulation and operate in the black, Mansueto apparently remains convinced there is a future for magazines. And he has the money to sink into TOC for as long as he wishes. "Joe has very deep pockets," said one source familiar with the TOC backer. Several years ago Mansueto acquired Fast Company and turned that into a good, almost breezy read. He also owns another biz-oriented magazine called Inc.

The National Pork Board has selected Schafer Condon Carter/Chicago as its agency of record following a review. Effective immediately, SCC will develop an integrated consumer marketing program for the National Pork Board, including strategic brand development as well as traditional and non-traditional advertising. SCC is partnering with Spark Communications for traditional media and will handle digital media in-house. "In Schafer Condon Carter we found a marketing partner with a deep understanding of our business, the ability to deliver an integrated communication solution and the passion to help us energize our brand," said Ceci Snyder, vice-president of domestic marketing for the National Pork Board.

One at Optimus, the live-action production arm of post-production house Optimus/Chicago, has signed two new directors to its roster -- Michael Chaves and Alex Beh. Chaves is a Southern California local whose work includes a range of spots for Toshiba, NASCAR, Ford, McDonald's, Lucky Jeans and Zippo, among others. Prior to joining One at Optimus, Chaves was on staff as a director at Backyard in Venice, Calif. Beh has won numerous awards as a director, actor and producer. He began his career in the Chicago theater industry, where he learned his craft studying at Second City, Improv Olympic Theater and the Piven Theater. His film "Sugar" has won numerous awards, including Best Short at the Bend Film Festival.

Chicago-based Marketing Werks, the nation's largest independent experiential marketing firm, has opened a corporate office in the New York metropolitan area to serve its east coast clients and function as a regional operations center. Located in Jersey City, N.J., the new office will be headquarters for 20 Marketing Werks employees. The Marketing Werks executive management team based at the new office includes client services director Julie Schweigert and Brian Neville and senior account manager Matt Cicero. Marketing Werks clients include Verizon Wireless, the Hershey Co., Sony PlayStation, Walgreens and Gore-Tex.

In anticipation of the rebranding in June of the National City banks in the Chicago market with the PNC bank name, PNC Financial Services Group has signed on as the lead sponsor of the PNC Club of Chicago, a deluxe 71-seat sanctuary being built out behind the third-base line at Wrigley Field. The new club will offer high-end catering, a full-service bar, concierge service, large-screen TV's and indoor and outdoor seating.

With this new sponsorship deal, PNC apparently intends to build on the longstanding relationship already established between the Chicago Cubs and National City. "Our expanded partnership with the Cubs reflects our plans to grow throughout Chicagoland, build our brand and support our community," said Joseph Gregoire, president of Illinois Banking for National City, now part of PNC. "We're excited to offer this larger, more open suite to businesses and entrepreneurs looking to entertain clients or prospects at a game," added Wally Hayward, chief sales and marketing officer for the Cubs.

sharp mug.jpgPatrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks has found a berth on the city's No. 1-rated morning drive show fronted by Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart on WTMX-FM (101.9). The segment, appropriately called "Sharp Attack," will air every Thursday morning at around 8:40 a.m. for the duration of the hockey season. And that season could be extended quite a bit, as the Hawks are expected to be in the playoffs for the Stanley Cup.

In his first chat with Eric and Kathy, Sharp talked about the team's recently-returned Olympic players, and Ferguson speculated about what caused the Blackhawks to perk up in the third period of Wednesday's home game against the Edmonton Oilers, which the Hawks eventually won. Ferguson said he thought the coach might have thrown a chair in the locker room to get the team motivated for the decisive third period. But Sharp said what actually got the team fired up was seeing a big image of Ferguson on the United Center Jumbotron. Ferguson then confirmed that he indeed attended Wednesday's game and that a shot of him flashed on the big screen.

HY-brid, Hoffman York's green marketing division, has joined forces with energy expert Paul von Paumgartten. As a consultant, he will help agency clients deal with issues such as energy efficiency, green buildings and sustainable communities. Paumgartten is recognized as an expert on the topic of greening global existing building stock and is currently the senior green building advisor for the Building Efficiency business of Johnson Controls Inc. "Paul joins us at a crucial time in the growth of HY-brid," said Sharon Boeldt, president of Hoffman York PR, adding "he brings a dimension to our already established green business practice."

Puri, Anita_January2010.JPGAnita Puri has joined Digitas/Chicago as senior vice-president of marketing for the Kraft account. She will report to Susan Canavari, executive vice-president of Digitas. Puri joins the agency from Quaker Foods & Snacks division of PepsiCo, where she was director of marketing leading the Equity and Marketing Communications Group. Prior to joining PepsiCo, Puri worked in marketing communications at Ameritech. She also previously spent 12 years in the Chicago advertising industry at several ad agencies, including Leo Burnett, Foote Cone & Belding and Element 79 Partners. The Puri appointment is the second strategic move to serve Digitas' growing Kraft relationship. The formation of the KraftOne Team was announced in early January. That team serves the Kraft global agency of record relationship.

CBS Radio Chicago's country WUSN-FM (99.5) was a big winner this past weekend at the country music industry's prestigious "Country Music Broadcasters/Country Aircheck" Awards. WUSN won in the following categories: Station of the Year (major market); music director of the year (assistant program director Marci Braun) and morning show of the year with the "Lisa Dent & Ramblin' Ray" morning drive show. WUSN also is currently nominated for "Station of the Year" (major market) by the Academy of Country Music. The ACM Awards will be telecast by CBS on Sunday, April 18th, beginning at 7 p.m.

Pam Zekman, investigative reporter at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, will receive the Diogenes Award for Excellence in Media from the Better Business Bureau at the group's annual dinner meeting on March 10. She will be honored with the award for her nearly 30 years of investigative reporting for Channel 2. "The BBB Diogenes Award for Excellence in Media is presented to the news person who exemplifies the goals and principles of the Better Business Bureau to support and foster an ethical marketplace benefiting both consumers and businesses," said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the BBB.

In recent years, Zekman's investigations have exposed millions of dollars in government waste, Medicaid and Medicare fraud, dangerous and sometimes deadly conditions in Chicago area restaurants and homes and scams that have cost consumers thousands of dollars.

For reasons not fully clear to us, Euro RSCG/Chicago opted not to make public note of a promotion last month of Blake Ebel, who previously was an executive creative director at the agency -- a rung below Euro's chief creative office Steffan Postaer. But agency management quietly has upped Ebel to chief creative officer at Euro RSCG/Chicago. That's correct. The title for both execs is chief creative officer, not co-chief creative officer, which led us to wonder why, if both Postaer and Ebel now have the same title, the correct title for each wouldn't be "co-chief creative officer."

But an agency spokesman says that's not the way it's working. Why? Apparently it has something to do with Postaer's chief creative officer function extending further into various departments at the agency than does Ebel's. It's all very muddled, it seems, but management believed Ebel needed a promotion, and this was the only way to work it. So work it they did.

Chicago-based Lapiz, an Hispanic-focused ad agency, has added digital and shopper marketing practices to its menu of offerings. "We have a strong reputation of having the most intimate understanding of Hispanic consumers' behaviors, and can swiftly apply that knowledge to our new practice areas to move consumers to action," said Dolores Kunda, president and chief executive officer, Lapiz. Eduardo Alvarez has been tapped to lead Lapiz's digital unit. And Toni Knoop will head Lapiz's shopper marketing efforts. Lapiz's current client roster includes U.S. Cellular, Allstate, Kellogg and Procter & Gamble. The 2010 United States Census forecast estimates that 50 million Hispanics are currently living in this country,

Bonneville International, which operates some of the best-managed radio stations in the country, has promoted two of its star managers. Paul Yates has been promoted to senior vice-president, finance. And Greg Solk has been upped to senior vice-president, programming. Solk's programming oversight has, over the years, expanded from Bonneville's music outlets to include work on the company's news/talk stations. Solk is based in Bonneville's Chicago office. Bonneville's Chicago stations include hot adult contemporary WTMX-FM (101.9), classic hits WDRV-FM (97.1) and adult contemporary WILV-FM (100.3)

It helps to be the best. Just ask the Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co., which was recently honored for having the "Best Web site of the Year" at the Annual Illinois Govenor's Conerence on Tourism. The interactive site at www.chicagotrolley.com, is full of pretty pictures of Chicago tourist sights. The Web site has helped the company grow online tour sales more than 350 percent, and group sales inquiries have grown almost 200 percent. The sight was designed to appeal to both domestic and international travelers, as well as travel agents, tour directors and local residents. Among other things, an interactive tour map allows users to point and click on any trolely stop to see a description of businesses and activities at the stop, along with images.

Sunday afternoon's USA vs. Canada Olympic gold medal hockey game telecast on NBC was the most-watched hockey game in 30 years. Canada's 3-2 overtime victory drew an average viewership of 27.6 million, the most-watched hockey broadcast of any kind since the USA vs. Finland 1980 gold medal game in Lake Placid on Feb. 24, 1980. For historical comparison, the "Miracle on Ice" 1980 Olympic semifinal hockey game between the USA and Russia that aired on tape delay from the Lake Placid Games drew 34.2 million average viewers.

"We've been fortunate to have a front-row seat to observe a nation of fans that appreciates winter sports, is proud of their winter sport heritage and celebrates success -- no matter which country wins," said Dick Ebersol, chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics, adding " 'O Canada' will never be the same."

NewLogo.jpgMinneapolis-based Caribou Coffee, which has long played the Avis to Starbucks' Hertz in the coffee world, is today unveiling a brand makeover orchestrated by Colle + McVoy/Minneapolis. The changes include a newly-designed caribou image that is way more abstract than the one seen in the existing brand logo. The brand tagline -- "Life is short. Stay awake for it." -- will remain as part of the rebranding, but the tagline's meaning will begin to shift as the ad campaign unfolds over the coming months. The plan is to make the line a call for more customer engagement. Rather than literally focusing on caffeine's helping us stay awake, the line now will take on more of a "seize the day" attitude. The new brand logo will be seen starting today on in-store napkins, cups, drink carriers, canteens and signage. A redesigned Web site and out-of-home advertising will launch April 1.

Silvia Rivera headshot.jpgSilvia Rivera has been named managing director of Chicago's Vocalo.org, the interactive online community also encompassing WBEW-FM (89.5). Rivera replaces former Vocalo.org general manager Wendy Turner, who was recently named vice-president, systems, for Chicago Public Radio. Rivera's role is effective immediately. Rivera started her career in 1998 at Radio Arte, a youth-driven Latino public radio station. She rose through the ranks there to ultimately become general manager. Vocalo.org is a Web site and radio station committed to fostering conversation between diverse constituents in the Lake Michigan region. Vocalo.org was started in June, 2007, as an initiative of Chicago Public Radio to make public radio more open to the public at large.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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