Adages

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Toyota wants to keep him on team

San Francisco 49ers star quarterback Steve Young may have retired from football, but he's still in the game. SF ad shop Hoffman/Lewis says it's in the process of trying to sign Young to continue as star of its Northern California Toyota commercials despite significant changes in the Young brand. Steve's no longer the hapless bachelor depicted in previous Toyota spots, forgetting flowers on the roof of his car, trying to explain to a football-oblivious date exactly what he does for a living. Now married and expecting his first child, Young is a dot-com exec and a GOP luminary, having spoken at the party's convention and taken a public pro-life stance. But Young hasn't been sacked yet. "As of right now, it doesn't appear to be an issue," said H/L Exec VP-General Manager Josh Nichol. Adds Toyota VP-Marketing Steve Sturm: "One doesn't choose spokesmen on their political views. He was an icon in the San Francisco market. That's why he was hired."

Too many fingers in the cookie jar

"Grandpa" will have to wait. The new TV spot developed by FCB Worldwide, New York, to launch Nabisco Biscuit Co.'s new Mini Oreo won't air today as planned because Nabisco can't make the bite-size cookies fast enough for clamoring consumers. The on-the-go version of the popular sandwich cookie was introduced to consumers two weeks ago, and tremendous demand has Nabisco scrambling to keep up. The TV spot, which features a grandson impressed by the cookie-popping prowess of his granddad, will be delayed until the "problem" can be rectified, said an FCB spokeswoman. Meanwhile, a print ad will appear as planned in October issues of kid-targeted magazines.

`Playboy' rocks with CD tie-ins

Didja hear the one about the rock/rap band that came to Playboy with cross-promotional plans in hand? "We thought, yeah, that's cool, as long as it doesn't cost us anything," said a Playboy spokeswoman, when Zebrahead told them their next CD's entitled "Playmate of the Year," due out Aug. 29. The band shot pics for their CD booklet with four Playmates, and the obligatory Playboy Mansion bash is at the end of next month. Zebrahead.com greets surfers with that familiar rabbit logo. "It's been our goal to be stronger in the youth market," said the Playboy spokeswoman. Too bad some youths might be too youthful to see both versions of the video the band shot at the mansion -- one for MTV and one exclusively for the Playboy Channel. The difference between them, said the spokeswoman: "Nudity."

Trying to defuse int'l situation

To ease citywide frustration caused by milelong diplomatic motorcades, the United Nations is launching a metro advertising campaign to cue New Yorkers in on the upcoming Millennium Summit, taking place Sept. 6-8. Tagged as the "largest gathering of world leaders in human history" with 150 heads of state and government attending, the summit will target long-term strategies for combating such issues as poverty, HIV, illiteracy and slums. Young & Rubicam's Brand Buzz created PSAs designed to engage commuters.

Got an Adage? Tell Julie by phone, (312) 649-5396; fax, (312) 649-5331; or e-mail, jjohnson@crain.com.

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