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Hoffmann-La Roche's new mobile marketing concept solves two nagging problems -- how to both avoid the flu and find convenient, affordable housing in the city. Eight trucks trolling several cities tout new flu med Tamiflu (AA, Oct. 4); they feature a huge transparent cubicle furnished like a studio apartment and inhabited by an actor. Emblazoned on the truck is "One person in this town who can probably feel safe from the flu. For the rest of us flu sufferers, there's Tamiflu." Roche dispatches a truck after the company determines a city is on flu alert. Diamond Group, New York, conceived the vehicles, and they should be able to steer clear of the Food & Drug Administration. A poster with drug info on the side meets the FDA's "fair balance" requirement. However, the effectiveness of such DTC promo activity has drawn the attention of the FDA, which fretted last week about docs misprescribing new flu drugs (see For the Record on Page 45).

Nets nix Nike's cliff-hanger ploy

CBS and NBC have put the kibosh on Nike's cliff-hanger ad tactic. The new spots from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., for Nike's Air Cross Trainer II shoe withhold dramatic endings, revealing them instead on a Nike Web site. At the end of each spot, the screen says: "Continued at whatever.nike.com." But the two nets edited the advertising to read just "whatever.nike.com." David Larson, Nike's dir. of brand initiatives, says those networks believed the Nike ads would lure TV viewers away to their computers. Less worked up about the spots were ABC and MTV, which let them run unsliced.

Treating ad work with kid gloves

"A little child shall lead them" . . . but not quite yet, not totally. In NYC, Teen People is turning to its namesake demo for help on ad strategy. It's created in-house shop FAB Teen Agency ("FAB" as in "For and By" teens), staffed by four juniors from John V. Lindsay Wildcat Academy -- Janine Hassan, 16; Michelle Mondesire, 16; Sifiso Moyo, 16; and Mahadeo "Charles" Singh, 17. They will work on deadline on various projects, including the title's media kit and trade campaign. In Motown, Center for Creative Studies instructor Keith Stentz, also CD at mktg. services agency VSI, worked out a deal with J. Walter Thompson counterpart Brad Phillips in which Stentz's ad students were given the same creative brief that JWT/Detroit got from client White Castle. Lewis Baker and Jennifer Wallace presented their storyboards to the fast-feeder, and Stentz dubbed it "a tremendous learning experience." JWT's work was picked, though. Whew!

`Fortune' praises future papa AOL

Time Warner magazine Fortune named America Online one of the "100 Best Companies to Work for in America" in its issue dated Jan. 10. Happy coincidence: That was the same day AOL said it would buy TW. Companies on the list are "exceptional for the lengths to which they went to help employees balance their home and work lives," Fortune explains. Perhaps that means Fortune's tellers will have ample time at home to ponder new AOL stock options.

Got an Adage? Tell Dan by phone, (312) 280-3109; fax, (312) 649-5331; or e-mail, dlippe@crain.com.

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