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Microsoft revamps branding around .NET

[redmond, wash.] Microsoft Corp. is poised to overhaul its entire brand architecture around the new .NET software platform that executives outlined on June 22. The company is said to be in the process of presenting a comprehensive rebranding strategy to President-CEO Steve Ballmer for approval. McCann-Erickson/ A&L, San Francisco and New York, Microsoft's agency of record, is expected to play a major role. However, other shops are likely to be approached. The .NET marketing initiative will be a major focus for the company at the start of its 2001 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Dentsu pays $1.16 mil to settle suicide suit

[tokyo] Japanese advertising giant Dentsu settled a historic lawsuit out of court by agreeing to pay $1.16 million in damages to the family of a worker whose suicide was caused by abusive treatment by company managers. As part of the settlement, Dentsu has admitted for the first time that it was responsible for the suicide from overwork of Ichiro Oshima, 24, who killed himself in 1991. The settlement follows a precedent-setting decision by Japan's Supreme Court in March, which ruled Dentsu was completely responsible for Mr. Oshima's suicide and ordered a lower court to reconsider compensation.

P&G revamps Pantene for relaunch

[cincinnati] Procter & Gamble Co. will relaunch its Pantene Pro-V haircare line in August with new products, packaging, displays and advertising. Products in the redesigned line will be grouped by function along five lines: basic care, color care, curls, volume and smoothing. An ad campaign breaking in August from Grey Worldwide, New York, will support.

Army likely to award account this week

[washington] The U.S. Army is expected this week to name an agency for its $110 million account. Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., and Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, lead the finalist teams.

Nabisco considers bids for units

[parsippany, n.j.] Nabisco Group Holdings' board was expected to meet June 23 to discuss takeover bids for the overall holding company and its food unit. Under discussion are a bid from financier Carl Icahn, who made an offer of $31 a share last week for Nabisco Group Holdings. Philip Morris Cos. and a combination of Groupe Danone and Cadbury Schweppes are bidding for the separately traded Nabisco Holdings Corp., owner of the Oreo, Chips Ahoy! and LifeSavers brands. Both Philip Morris and the Cadbury/Danone group have put in bids less than $55 a share.

Stark seeks drug ad deductibility limits

[washington] U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D., Calif.) last week proposed legislation that would deny tax deductibility to any pharmaceutical ad that doesn't devote half its space or time to risks and side effects. Rep. Stark charged that the growth of direct-to-consumer drug ads was increasing drug costs and said his proposed Fair Balance Prescription Drug Advertisement Act would counter those costs. Ad groups questioned the legislation's constitutionality and moved to warn marketers.

ConAgra buys Int'l Home Foods

[omaha] ConAgra announced plans June 23 to acquire International Home Foods for $2.9 billion. ConAgra will add brands such as Bumble Bee tuna, Chef Boyardee and Crunch 'n Munch to its portfolio, which includes Butterball, Healthy Choice and Orville Redenbacher. Fogarty Klein Monroe, Houston, handles the bulk of IHF's brands, while D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, has Pam cooking spray and Guldens mustard.

U.S. orders Web cookies pulled

[washington] The Office of Management & Budget ordered all government agencies to cease using cookies to track Web site visitors and ad exposures, a move that could leave the government buying millions of dollars in Web ads with little knowledge about who sees the ads or sites. Web advertising experts said that without the cookies, anti-drug, military and other functions will have only limited, complex methods for tracking reach and frequency. The OMB directive allows cookies only when the need is "compelling."

Draft acquires New York creative shop Sloan Group

[chicago] Draft Worldwide will announce today its acquisition of Sloan Group, a New York creative agency specializing in youth, entertainment and technology marketing. Cliff Sloan, president and chief creative officer of the 50-person agency, will continue to oversee the business, which will operate autonomously within Draft, an Interpublic Group of Cos. unit. Sloan Group's clients include AT&T Corp., ESPN and Nickelodeon.

Doremus drops out of review for Goldman Sachs account

[new york] Doremus & Co. last week dropped out of the $25 million Goldman Sachs & Co. review. The financial services company is looking to consolidate its corporate, collateral and business-to-business accounts, handled, respectively, by Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, Mezzina Brown and Doremus. Lowe Lintas and Mezzina Brown & Partners bowed out earlier. A spokesman at consultant Pile & Co., Boston, said the search is still on but refused to identify the contenders.

F.Y.I.

Jim Riswold, partner at Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., resumes the lead creative position on Wieden's Nike account, where he will team with Hal Curtis. Mr. Riswold succeeds Bob Moore, who led Wieden's Nike creative team for about a year. Mr. Moore succeeds Mr. Riswold as lead creative on Wieden's Alta Vista account. . . . David Nathanson, co-creative director of DDB Worldwide, New York, left the agency to launch a new ad shop with Mark Bezos, brother of Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos. The new venture is said to be named after the two agency executives. . . . Pseudo Programs laid off 58 people June 23, less than a month after dot-com rival Digital Entertainment Network closed its doors. A spokeswoman for the video entertainment site (pseudo.com) said the layoffs comprise 16% of Pseudo's workforce. . . . Emap USA suspended publication of Sport Magazine June 23. In a statement, the publisher cited the loss of Philip Morris USA's tobacco advertising in the 54-year-old title, as well as a desire to concentrate on its more tightly focused sports titles.

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