[plano, texas] Frito-Lay has briefed Suissa Miller, Santa Monica, Calif., and Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor, New York, about Cracker Jack, recently acquired from Borden. Frito asked both shops for creative directions, to be presented by Christmas; it may contact others. The company moved outside its roster because its core shops have conflicts -- DDB Needham Worldwide, New York, handles Hershey and BBDO Worldwide, New York, has Mars. Under Borden, the brand billed less than $1 million, but Frito is expected to spend up to $10 million.
Foot Locker to Deutsch, Kirshenbaum, Griffin
[new york] Foot Locker has divided its $25 million account among Deutsch, which gets the flagship Foot Locker brand; Kirshenbaum, Bond & Partners, which takes Lady Foot Locker; and Griffin Bacal, which gets Kids Foot Locker, according to executives close to the company. Its Champs sportswear business remains unassigned. Foot Locker and the agencies declined to comment. Bates USA resigned the account last summer.
Disney deals to buy beach volleyball league
[anaheim, calif.] Walt Disney Co. is in serious talks to acquire the Women's Professional Beach Volleyball Association. At least one sports marketing executive familiar with the situation said the deal has been completed, but ABC executives said talks are still ongoing.
GM's OnStar to break first national ads
[troy, mich.] General Motors Corp.'s OnStar division breaks its first national campaign during Thanksgiving Day football games on NBC and Fox -- the first ad work from Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York. The tag for the vehicle navigation-telecommunications' system is "Always there to help you." Spending is estimated at $5 million through Dec. 31.
Lowe quits Weight Watchers business
[jericho, n.y.] Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, resigned as the agency for Weight Watchers International weight loss centers after one year, citing "creative and strategic differences." The diet centers' total billings are an estimated $35 million to $40 million. Weight Watchers moved to the Seiden Group, New York, on a project basis; consultant ADvice & ADvisors, New York, is evaluating the need for an AOR.
CMP sets TechShopper site for Dec. 1 debut
[san francisco] CMP Media Dec. 1 launches TechShopper, a shopping site for computer products that will compete with Ziff-Davis' NetBuyer (www.netbuyer.com). TechShopper, part of TechWeb (www.techweb.com), initially will offer software, available for immediate download; a hardware section will be added later.
MTV seeks agency in $20 mil review
[new york] MTV, hoping to sharpen its brand identity, is talking to a handful of agencies for its estimated $20 million account.
U.S. Tobacco talks to shops about account
[greenwich, conn.] U.S. Tobacco, marketer of Skoal and Copenhagen chewing tobacco, has been contacting agencies, although current shop Warwick Baker O'Neill said the $15 million business isn't in review. Warwick said the marketer often contacts agencies for projects; a company spokesman said only that the account wasn't being reviewed "at this time."
McCann, Fitzgerald merge in Atlanta
[atlanta] McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Atlanta, will merge with Fitzgerald & Co., adopting the smaller agency's name. The $60 million agency is being acquired by McCann parent Interpublic Group of Cos., New York; terms were undisclosed and it remained undecided how the new $140 million to $160 million agency will fit into the company structure.
Public Service Gas & Electric cuts review to 4 shops
[newark, n.j.] Public Service Gas & Electric has trimmed its estimated $20 million creative and media review to four. DKB & Partners, Morristown, and Anderson & Lembke, New York, are the incumbents. Merkley Newman Harty and Spike DDB, both New York, are also pitching.
BMW reassesses 2 regional dealer shops
[woodcliff lake, n.j.] BMW of North America said two of its four U.S. regions are evaluating their year-old dealer group agencies -- Mendelsohn/Zien, Los Angeles, in the west and McConnaughy Stein Schmidt Brown, Chicago, for the central region. Executives close to BMW expect it to consolidate all four, totaling about $45 million, at Publicis/Bloom, which handles the east and south out of its New York and Dallas offices, respectively. BMW denied it plans to combine the accounts. Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, has the national account (see related story on Page 2).
WPP Group has conditionally agreed to buy a 37% stake in Batey Holdings, the holding company that owns 80% of Singapore-based Batey Ads, for up to $50 million depending on financial performance. . . . Kimberly-Clark Corp. will cut 5,000 jobs and close, sell or downsize 18 plants in a major restructuring aimed to reduce operating costs by $200 million annually by 2000. . . . Chase Manhattan Corp. has assigned a special wholesale banking project to McCann-Erickson Worldwide, San Francisco. . . . Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. to Kaplan Thaler Group, New York, for $40 million launch of its Daily Defense haircare line (AA, June 23). . . . Chevrolet and agency Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., won four of 10 General Motors Corp. first internal Alpha ad awards. . . . California Department of Health Services has issued a request for proposals for its new MediCal Healthy Family Education & Outreach Campaign, with advertising amounting to about $16 million per year for the 41-month program. . . . Richard Newman, exec VP of Bates USA, received the Advertising Council's G.D. Crain Award for volunteerism. . . . James Kilts, 49, to chairman-CEO, Nabisco Holdings Corp., Parsippany, N.J., from exec VP-worldwide foods at Kraft Foods, Northbrook, Ill., succeeding John Greeniaus, 52, who is leaving Jan. 1 for