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P&G takes stock in new investors

Here's a performance measure you don't often find in an annual report: Accentuating the positive in his letter to shareholders, Procter & Gamble President-CEO A.G. Lafley boasts of 200,000 new P&G shareholders in the past year. They bought all those shares unloaded by institutions when P&G's stock plunged 50% between January and March. Just another sign price promotion still works.

Goodbye to helm of good Bay agency

Fred Goldberg, the irascible gadfly of San Francisco advertising, exits at yearend as chairman of GMO/Hill, Holliday. "It's about time," Goldberg says, and some of his rivals and former employees would agree, though Goldberg actually meant he's going to be savoring the moment. Goldberg -- the account guy on creative landmarks such as Apple's "1984" spot as well as financial successes including Teddy Ruxpin, Dell and Cisco -- is one of a group of movers who put San Francisco creative on the map. Others such as Jack Balousek, who partnered with the late Mike Koelker at FCB, and Dianne Snedaker at Ketchum Advertising have wound up in the dot-com world.

Booting tech out of home life

Even before CBS' "Survivor" pitched its tent firmly on the collective consciousness, Chris Converse relished a technology-free existence, or at least time away from the digital revolution. Converse, a senior design engineer at Philadelphia's Medical Broadcasting Co. who helps craft pharmaceutical Web pages such as Pfizer's site for its Diflucan drug, spends virtually his entire working day in front of a computer. And whenever he isn't facing one, he's in a meeting talking about one. "Everything at work is machines!" he says. So when Converse finally exits MBC's Rittenhouse Square office each night, he thirsts for, well, something like a deserted island in the Pacific. His apartment has no dishwasher, microwave or answering machine. He rarely turns on the TV. And the computer is shrouded. Converse's interior decorating is limited to a desk, a single chair and a mattress. He sits on the floor mostly and at night gazes at the stars. "I didn't realize I was living so barbarically," Converse muses. At least he doesn't have to worry about being voted out of his digs.

Iacocca almost rode with Nissan

Recently retired Nissan design chief Jerry Hirshberg has been pitching the auto brand in ads since last year. But ex-Nissan g.m. Mike Seergy and ex-chief flack Jason Vines first asked former Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee Iacocca to be the ad spokesman in late 1998, according to HarperCollins' book "Taken for a Ride" by Bill Vlasic and Bradley Stertz, about Daimler-Benz's takeover of Chrysler. "It was real hush-hush around the negotiations," Nissan spokesman Kurt Von Zumwalt confirms for Adages. The plan fell through, however, after consumer research revealed a third of those surveyed said Lee would only be pitching Nissan for the money, the book reveals.

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