Publicis poised to buy Frankel for $170 mil

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[chicago] Paris-based Publicis appears ready to buy marketing services giant Frankel & Co. for $170 million in cash, which would give founder Bud Frankel more than $113 million. The deal should be final by mid-January. Frankel had $86 million in gross revenues for 1998. Losing bidders are believed to have been WPP Group and Omnicom Group. Frankel declined to comment on the Publicis deal.

Riney captures $25 mil ePods account

[seattle] Startup ePods named Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, as first agency for its $25 million account. EPods later this month will unveil its offering, a hardware product and Net service to be introduced midyear as a simple alternative to PCs for Internet access.

Subway launches $90 mil review

[milford, conn.] Subway has enlisted AAR Bob Wolf Partners, Los Angeles, to conduct a review for creative on its $90 million national account, ending a nearly 10-year relationship with Publicis & Hal Riney, Chicago. The 14,100-unit sandwich chain plans to hire a separate agency to handle media buying, now also at Publicis & Hal Riney. Riney is not participating.

Imandi.com picks Crispin as 1st shop

[redmond, wash.] E-commerce site imandi.com will announce today the hiring of Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, as first agency for its $20 million online and offline ad account. Imandi lets consumers submit requests to purchase products and services; merchants then submit bids.

SBC to pick long-distance shop

[san antonio] SBC Communications this week goes into the final stage of pitches for its new long-distance unit, SBC Telecom. Competing for the business are two SBC roster shops -- Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco; and GSD&M, Austin, Texas. Spending is estimated at $15 million. SBC plans to roll out the service to 30 cities this year.

Bic will launch new line of shavers

[milford, conn.] Bic Corp. will spend $16 million next spring to launch a new line of disposable razors, Bic Softwin Shaver. The razors, due in stores in March, feature a pivoting head with twin blades and a lubricating strip. They will be available in three models, including one for women. TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, will break a campaign early in the second quarter.

CareerMosaic opens offline campaign

[new york] Online employment site CareerMosaic kicks off 2000 with its first widespread offline ad campaign. Created by Merkley Newman Harty, the tagline of the initial print advertising is "Happy in career. Happy in life."

Qwest makes splash at NYSE

[new york] Qwest Communications is set to take over the outside of the New York Stock Exchange today. Along with the signage, Chairman-CEO Joe Nacchio will ring the bell on the first trading day of 2000. The telecom also will run a page ad in The Wall Street Journal. J. Walter Thompson USA, created the ads and coordinated the event.

`Playboy' names Day as publisher

[new york] Gail C. Day, 43, was named publisher of Playboy and senior VP of Playboy Enterprises' publishing group. She succeeds Richard Kinsler, who joined Times Mirror Co.'s Popular Science as publisher last year. She was previously associate publisher of Sports Illustrated for Kids. Ms. Day will report to Alex Mironovich, president of the publishing group.

Tic Tac opens $15 mil push

[somerset, n.j.] Tic Tac, a division of Ferrero USA, debuts ads this week in a $15 million yearlong campaign featuring its new spokeswoman, model/actress Kimberly Quinn (AA, Dec. 13). The first two spots were created by McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, and will roll out in consecutive months on network TV.

Shatner speaks up for Priceline.com

[stamford, conn.] Priceline.com today begins its first image campaign, with longtime pitchman William Shatner interweaving a brand message with his spoken-word renditions of "Age of Aquarius," "Convoy," and other pop and rock standards. The "Troubadour" campaign, with 10 tongue-in-cheek 30-second spots, is from Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston.

Nike enlists cyclist Armstrong for `Just do it' commerical

[beaverton, ore.] Nike's new "Just do it" TV spot from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., featuring bicyclist Lance Armstrong, breaks Jan. 4. Mr. Armstrong, accused of taking performance enhancing drugs after his Tour De France win, says in voice-over, "Everybody wants to know what I'm on," as video shows the testicular cancer survivor taking blood tests and bike training. "What am I on? I'm on my bike, busting my ass 6 hours a day. What are you on?"

F.Y.I.

Fruit of the Loom filed a bankruptcy petition Dec. 29 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Dover, Del., and negotiated a $625 million loan to continue operations while it undergoes a reorganization. Warwick Baker O'Neill, New York, is its agency. . . . HealthShield to Berenter Greenhouse & Webster, New York, as first agency on the $25 million account for its eponymous anti-bacterial compound, for a business-to-business and consumer campaign. . . . Viacom and CBS Corp. last week received approval from shareholders for their merger. Federal regulators must still decide whether the combined entity will be able to operate two broadcast networks (CBS and UPN) and if it must sell some of its local stations. . . . Carrows to J. Walter Thompson Co.'s JWT West, San Francisco, from Kovel/Fuller, Los Angeles, for the restaurant chain's $8 million account. . . . American Blind & Wallpaper Factory to J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit, as first agency of record for the home decorating e-tailer (decoratetoday.com). . . . Peter Levin, 59, director of strategic marketing planning for General Motors Corp.'s Cadillac division, died Dec. 21 in Farmington Hills, Mich. In 1992, Mr. Levin received recognition in Advertising Age's Marketing 100 for an ad campaign for the then-new Cadillac Seville. . . . Michael Heneberry, 42, to director of marketing, Newsweek, New York, from Time Inc.'s Money, where he was marketing services director. He succeeds Paul Kelly, who resigned in April.

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