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Novartis launches review for new arthritis drug

[EAST HANOVER, N.J.] Novartis has launched a review to handle the direct-to-consumer account for its Cox-2 arthritis drug in development (known as Cox-189) and scheduled for a 2003 launch, people familiar with the matter said. Shops involved are Cline, Davis & Mann, New York; Abelson-Taylor, Chicago; WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, New York; and Omnicom Group's Merkley Newman Harty, New York, the people said. Novartis declined to comment. Professional-marketing shop Abelson is expected to find a consumer agency to partner with; Cline Davis may handle both areas; while the other two shops are expected to find professional shops to join with in the pitch. The drug is expected to be the fifth Cox-2 on the market following two each by Pfizer/Pharmacia and Merck.

PSAs target teens' use of ecstasy

[washington]The Partnership for a Drug Free America launched public service ads warning teens of the dangers of the drug ecstasy, whose growing use is being compared to the use of cocaine in earlier generations. Four spots were directed by Adam Reed, 25, for Elsewhere Films. The spots feature stories of the devastation caused by the drugs. Two others came from Publicis Groupe's Publicis Toronto; a final spot was created by Working Pictures. DiMassimo Brand Advertising handled print, and Rand Interactive handled interactive.

'USA Today', 'Biz Week' join on personal finance

[NEW YORK] McGraw-Hill Cos.' Business Week and Gannett Co.'s USA Today are expected to announce today a partnership by which the two titles will jointly produce and publish articles on personal finance and investing. The first result of this partnership will be a special section based on Business Week's annual list of the best-performing companies in the Standard & Poor 500, which will run in Business Week on April 2 and in USA Today's Money section April 3.

Campaign-finance vote could alter prospects

[Washington] A quick debate and vote on campaign-finance reforms that could dramatically alter the prospects for campaign advertising spending is slated for the House of Representatives this week. Legislation sponsored by U.S. Reps. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., and Marty Meehan, D-Mass., is similar to that approved by the Senate a year ago. The voting comes as a result of an unusual bipartisan petition by House members to discharge the measure from committees. The GOP House leadership opposes the legislation.

Coalition launches push on insurance coverage

[Washington] Dramatically expanding a far smaller campaign from last year urging Congress provide health insurance for the uninsured, a coalition that includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO and the American Hospital Association is joining the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to launch a 1 1/2 year $10 million campaign with a similar message. Two spots to air nationally on cable starting Feb. 13 and on broadcast stations in Washington, along with national print, all from Greer Margolis Mitchell Burns & Associates, Washington, use the tagline "let's get America covered."

Sirius launches service in limited markets

[new york] Sirius Satellite Radio is launching its service in limited markets Feb. 14 with an integrated-marketing push themed, "You'll never want to leave your car." Sirius' integrated effort, through Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldgroup, New York, includes a roadshow enabling consumers to experience the service live via Sirius radio-equipped cars at retail locations and events like Nascar's Winston Cup races. Sirius is also sponsoring the No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid R/T in an effort to boost brand awareness and generate subscriber leads. Radio and newspaper ads for Sirius will break locally this week to support the launch in Denver, Houston, Phoenix and Jackson, Miss. TV will not begin until midyear.

AFM ratifies labor pact for musicians in ads

[WASHINGTON] The American Federation of Musicians ratified a labor contract for musicians appearing in advertising. The pact increases wages 6% over its three-year life and adds a standard rate for music used in Internet ads. The contract between the AFM and Joint Policy Committee on Talent Union Relations of the Association of National Advertisers and American Association of Advertising Agencies is retroactive to Oct. 17, 2001 and expires Oct. 16, 2004.


Jon Steel, former director-strategic planning at Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, has taken a part-time job as a worldwide consultant to WPP companies. ... Bulmers America, a unit of the U.K.'s HP Bulmer Ltd., retained Clark Goward, Boston, to handle its Strongbow and Woodchuck cider accounts. Strongbow is worth about $2 million, and Woodchuck's budget is being worked out. Clark Goward beat Boston independents Fort Franklin and Gearon Hoffman, as well as Panoramic Communications' Earle Palmer Brown, New York. ... Reckitt Benckiser Food Division , Wayne, N.J., will introduce a new squeeze bottle for its French's Yellow Mustard that includes a "stay-clean" cap. The packaging change, the first for the brand since the '70s, will be the focus of an ad campaign in mid May from agency of record, Havas Advertising's Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer Euro RSCG. ... Pennzoil-Quaker State Co. breaks its estimated $25 million 2002 Pennzoil motor oil brand advertising this week. Omnicom's GSD&M, Austin, created TV spots that reflect the brand's new "protection-for-your engine" positioning. ... WPP's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide is reteaming with Gordon Bowen, a former creative directoron the development and production for a new project for the American Express Co. account. Ogilvy declined to say what the project, which is currently under way, would entail. Mr. Bowen, now a freelance creative director, helped create the American Express "Portraits" campaign for Ogilvy in the mid-1980s, featuring celebrities photographed by Annie Leibowitz.

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