AIRLINE JOINT VENTURE TO PICK AGENCY SOON

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[new york] A decision is expected this month in the estimated $50 million review for Wings Alliance, a joint venture between several major airlines, with two agencies left in the running, according to executives close to the situation. Euro RSCG Worldwide and another agency are believed to be the finalists. The yet-to-be-official Wings Alliance is believed to include Alitalia, Continental Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Northwest Airlines. Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York, is leading the pitch for the Euro RSCG network.

NBC has sold half of Sydney Olympic time

[new york] NBC has sold half of its available advertising for the Sydney Olympic Games next year despite the scandal surrounding the International Olympic Committee and the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol said late last week. He said the network has sold 50% of its Sydney inventory to 11 official sponsors. He is negotiating with 12 others and expects to secure deals by May 1.

Nabisco bows ads for new Air Crisps flavor

[parsippany, n.j.] Nabisco Foods breaks a new spot this week from J. Walter Thompson USA, Chicago, to hype a new flavor of Air Crisps, a sour cream and onion potato crisp. A promo, "Get Air," also breaks in March tied to its "official snack" status for the NCAA Championships. A free-standing insert and local radio supports from the Promotion Network, Dallas.

Jiffy Lube readies review for $8 mil acc't

[houston] Jiffy Lube International will form a panel of staff and franchisees in the coming weeks to start a review for its $8 million creative account. Smith Advertising, Kansas City, Kan., resigned the business. Jiffy, a unit of the newly merged Pennzoil-Quaker State Co., also is seeking a new president and senior VP-marketing. Former Quaker unit QLube retains Valentine Radford, Kansas City, Mo., but it will lose the $8 million account as those outlets are converted to Jiffy stores in the next year or so.

Coca-Cola considers 'Buffy' for Barq's promo

[atlanta] Coca-Cola Co. may link its Barq's root beer brand with WB's popular teen show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" for a fall promotion. The beverage giant confirmed it is in talks for the project. Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., handles the brand's estimated $6 million account.

Lucky Strike fires up 'Original' ads nationally

[louisville, ky.] Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. this year will roll out its Lucky Strike campaign, now testing in California, Chicago, New York and Miami. The "American original" effort is from Bates USA, New York.

Levi's claims sales slump has reversed

[san francisco] A Levi Strauss & Co. executive said the company has stopped the sales decline in its jeans division. Robert Holloway, VP-marketing for the youth category said last week during an interview with Advertising Age that while the company overall suffered a 13% overall sales drop last year, its new advertising strategies and work from agency TBWA/Chiat/Day have begun to show results. "We've stemmed the decline . . . 1999 is starting off well," Mr. Holloway said, adding the company plans its first major push this fall for its L2 line of fashion jeans and new executions for its Silver Tab line.

Intel backs Pentium III with biz campaign

[santa clara, calif.] Intel Corp. today begins an estimated $25 million global business campaign for Pentium III, the largest business and trade print and Web campaign ever fielded by Intel for a chip. The campaign is from Euro RSCG DSW Partners, Salt Lake City and San Francisco.

Focus expected to hold onto DreamWorks' $85 mil acc't

[universal city, calif.] DreamWorks Pictures is expected to keep Focus Media, Los Angeles, as its media agency, according to an executive familiar with the $85 million account. Focus had been the lone agency until mid-1998, when DreamWorks set up a review and let Focus and GSD&M, Austin, Texas, vie for the account. DreamWorks said it had not made a decision.

MPA urged to use bar coding for sales of magazines

[dallas] Mercer Management Consulting today released its first findings in a study to improve magazine retailing methods, at the Magazine Publishers of America Retailing Conference in Dallas. Mercer's findings encourage the industry to use bar coding and scan-based trading methods, and urge retailers, wholesalers and publishers to adopt cooperative standards for a trackable sales inventory system.

F.Y.I.

Pamela Watkins, 42, to VP-publishing director, CMP Media's Windows Magazine, Manhasset, N.Y., from VP-business process, succeeding Dan Schwartz, who left. . . . Nabisco Foods begins hearing presentations on its $250 million promotion account this week. . . . IHOP Corp. to Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners West, San Francisco, from Bozell Worldwide, Costa Mesa, Calif., to handle the creative portion of its $20 million ad account. . . . Grey Advertising, New York, reported a 8.9% increase in gross billings for 1998, up to $6.3 billion. Full-year 1998 net income decreased 15.1% to $31 million. Fourth-quarter net income for the agency dropped 47.5% to $6.5 million. . . . Ralston Purina Co. to Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, for Whisker Lickin's, Beggin' Strips and T-Bonz pet treats. Fallon said it won the entire account, estimated at less than $5 million; incumbent Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago, said it retains the business and Fallon merely won an assignment. . . . Procter & Gamble Co. is rolling out Pampers Rash Guard, a premium priced diaper designed to fight diaper rash by transferring lotion to a baby's skin, with more than $50 million in full-year marketing support. D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, handles. . . . Merrill Lynch & Co. this week will break a multimedia branding campaign from J.

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