NEC goes to camp
NEC has a new pitchman. Or woman. Whatever. It's RuPaul, identified as "actor, actress" in a campaign breaking today from Hampel/Stefanides in NY for Packard Bell NEC's NEC Computer Systems. NEC's Versa notebooks pack in a lot of features and let owners plug in a CD-ROM or extra battery. So NEC is pushing the line as "Versatile notebooks for versatile people." Print ads star campy, colorful sorts like comic Jerry Lewis; Tracey Ullman and her cast of characters; and Miss RuPaul, America's most wholesome drag queen. To make sure ads get noticed, VP-Corp. Comm. Kerry Zeida is tripling spending this year to an estimated $20 million-part of a goal to move No. 5 NEC to No. 3 in U.S. notebooks behind Toshiba and IBM within 18 months. Zeida sees little risk in featuring a drag diva-except that some people won't know who she is.
All novels are
Howard Shank, retired Leo Burnett USA prez and chief creative, has inked "Jack & Charlie," a mystery novel about two ace copywriters at a Chicago agency who, in their spare moments, help a client fend off a takeover and manage to solve a couple of murders. Just what you expect from a full-service agency.
Car salesman and ex-adman Carl Spielvogel was one of the overnight guests in Washington's most popular bed & breakfast, the Lincoln Bedroom. Spielvogel these days runs United Auto Group, a chain of new and used-car dealers, so he can afford the rack rate at 1600 Penn. Ave. (Rack rate is the $126,000 Spielvogel & wife gave to Clinton & the Dems, according to The Washington Post.) What about average folk who want to sleep with Bill & Hillary ? One scheme: Get a Kampgrounds of America franchise for the South Lawn to give real Americans a place to park the RV.
Will Digital move its $35 million global PC biz from Y&R/NY to DDB/NY, home of the $75 million corp. and non-PC account? DDB insiders think chances are good; a Y&R insider and tech media players say a move wouldn't surprise them. But Digital says the buzz is wrong. The official word: "Our agencies are working well together, and we have no plans to change assignments."
Nitpick . . . Wired
. . . Oracle
NYTimes has lost $500,000 in regional Infiniti ads, pulled since the paper ran a less-than-glowing review of the Q45 in Sept. . . . Wired expects to be profitable by yearend, with parent Wired Ventures moving into the black by mid-'98. . . . Oracle decided to keep its Network Computer biz at Fathom/LA. Boss Larry Ellison has approved three TV spots to launch the much-hyped NC. . . . Ever the optimist, CBS has registered "tiffanynet.com." . . . There is life after whole life. At the Western States Adv. Agencies Assoc. person of the year event, more than 700 people showed up to fete Brian Morris, ex-insurance salesman and now boss at Dailey & Assoc./LA.M
Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Alice Z. Cuneo, Laura Petrecca, Chuck Ross, Ira Teinowitz and Brad Wernle.
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