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ExxonMobil to decide $100 mil media review

[new york] ExxonMobil Corp's $100 million media review will be decided early this week, according to a company spokesman. Agencies in the mix include Aegis Group's Carat, Omnicom Group's OMD, Bcom3 Group's Starcom MediaVest, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann and Zenith Media. The review will consolidate global media buying for a number of products within the Fuels Marketing Co. and Lubes Marketing Co. divisions.

Super Bowl rate average holding around $2.2 mil

[new york] The average price of a 30-sec. spot on CBS's January's Super Bowl telecast could be flat or a bit lower than the $2.2 million that ABC commanded this year, media executives said. This would mark a turnabout from hefty year-over-year increases that have been common. But executives said blue-chip marketers-who usually pay less than average for their multispot buys-may actually spend more to get time on the game than they did this year since the average last January was inflated by dot-coms that spent as much as $3 million for a spot. CBS has 10-12 commercials left to sell in January's Super Bowl, which leaves the network in pretty good shape considering the severe softness of the marketplace. This would put CBS at 80% to 84% percent sold for the big event.

MSN to create ISP for *NSYNC

[redmond, wash.] Microsoft Network will create a special-branded Internet service provider for pop group, *NSYNC. It was not known, at press time, whether the new ISP would be a free or a paid service. MSN has only traditionally charged for Internet access. This would be first time MSN has created a separate ISP service.

Happy Dog gets brand work for Xbox

[redmond, wash.] Microsoft Corp. tapped Happy Dog, a London brand consultancy, to develop the brand positioning for its forthcoming Xbox videogame console in the U.S. and Europe. Happy Dog will work with McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, the agency of record for the more than $150 million ad account. "Our brief is to do all the strategic planning that provides Xbox with a future-focused positioning," said Scott Walker, Happy Dog's CEO. There was no review; the budget for the project was undisclosed (See earlier story, P. 16).

Mainstay Funds account to FM&P

[new york] New York Life hired Frierson, Mee & Partners, New York, to handle approximately $10 million in consumer advertising for its Mainstay Funds mutual fund family, said executives close to the review. A spokeswoman for Frierson Mee would not comment. M&C Saatchi, New York, and Tierney & Partners, Philadelphia were the other finalists in review, handled by Geduldig & Ferguson, New York.

Commercial production costs jump

[new york] The average cost to produce a national television commercial increased more in 1999 than in any of the previous 13 years, according to an annual survey by the American Association of Advertising Agencies. The average cost of a 30-second spot rose 16% last year to $343,000, while the average cost for a commercial of any length rose 14% to $308,000.

GSD&M wins $35 mil HMO account

[minneapolis] The health maintenance organization United Health Care officially awarded its $25 million to $35 million advertising account to GSD&M, Austin. The prior agency was Campbell Mithum Esty. GSD&M had previously been the agency for the parent company United Health Group. GSD&M already created an ad for the national health maintenance organization that broke on CNBC, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News Network earlier this month.

Jockey splits with Grey on $5 mil creative account

[kenosha, wis.] Jockey International split with its agency, Grey Worldwide, and will move its $5 million print creative assignment. Mark D. Hogan, Jockey's VP of marketing and advertising, said the split was due to "creative differences" and that Jockey has already identified a successor. Mr. Hogan did not identify the new agency, pending final negotiations

Suzuki breaks $20 mil push from Colby Effler for XL-7 SUV

[brea, calif.] American Suzuki Motor Corp. rolls out its first car work from Colby Effler & Partners, Santa Monica, in in a series of 15-second spots for its all-new XL-7 sport utility vehicle. The estimated $20-million "It fits" campaign will break in early December on national cable TV.

F.Y.I.

McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Ltd., Toronto, consolidated its English-speaking ad business with Cossette Communication-Marketing, Toronto and Halifax. The business was previously split among Cossette, Palmer Jarvis/ DDB, Vancouver, and Vickers & Benson Advertising Limited, Toronto. Billings were undisclosed. . . . Princess Cruises tapped Suissa Miller, Los Angeles, to handle its $20 million account. The previous agency was J. Walter Thompson USA, Chicago. . . . The White House Office of National AIDS Policy will unveil three new public service AIDS education ad campaigns and honor the three agencies that produced them: Leo Burnett USA, Chicago; Ciociola & Co., New York; and TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco. . . .Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, named Mike de Maio as managing director-corporate operations, from president of Creative Alliance, Louisville, Ky. Separately, Burnett, shifted account responsibilities among seven executive creative directors, split some creative teams and added a new post dubbed "ad ranger-senior creatives." Ad rangers will work on accounts as projects arise. . . . American Express Co. Chairman-CEO Harvey Golub will step down as CEO at year-end. President-COO Kenneth Chenault has been appointed his successor.

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