Maytag repairman presents new face
Maytag appliances will have a new lonely repairman next year after Gordon Jump, the actor who has played the lovable but underemployed Maytag repairman in commercials for 15 years, retires at the end of the year. Hardy Rawls will step in to the blue repairman's uniform, the third actor to fill the role in 35 years. Mr. Jump replaced the first repairman, Jesse White, who retired in 1988 after 21 years. "Ol' Lonely," as the character is known, is one of the longest-running brand icons. Mr. Rawls, a character actor best known for his role as the father in Nickelodeon's "Pete and Pete," will make his debut some time in 2004 alongside his apprentice, played by Mark Devine since 2001. Burnett in 1967 created the Ol' Lonely character with Mr. White. Maytag last year celebrated the 35th anniversary of its famous fictitious repairman. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao88y
Nascar parks at Martin Agency
Nascar gave the green light to Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., to handle its estimated $20 million advertising account after the racing league last week parted ways with its advertising agency of three years, WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, Chicago. The Interpublic Group of Cos. agency was a bridesmaid twice on the account, first in 2001, when Y&R won it, and last year when the incumbent successfully defended the business against Martin and Omnicom Group's DDB, Chicago. Nascar disputed Y&R's position that spending was at the core of the move and that racing event footage would be used by the new agency in ads. Spending originally set at $25 million to $35 million dwindled to about $10 million according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. "We feel that our advertising has been as good as any in sports and speaks very effectively to both our casual and hard-core fan base," said a Nascar executive who asked not to be identified. "We also believe it demonstrates our commitment to compelling quality advertising, and that commitment has not changed." AdAge.com QwikFIND aao88w
Telemarketers sue over do not call
The American Teleservices Association filed a second suit challenging federal do-not-call rules, this time challenging the rule imposed by the Federal Communications Commission. The lawsuit, filed last week in the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, contends the FCC's rule is unconstitutional and violates civil procedure. The group earlier sued the Federal Trade Commission over its rule, one of three suits challenging the FTC. The FTC's rule affects most commercial marketers, but not banks, telephone companies, insurance companies or airlines. The FCC rules cover all other industries, forcing them to use the FTC list. Separately the FTC said it will charge marketers $7,375 a year for access to the list.
SEC probes AOL's discount subs
The Securities and Exchange Commission opened up another front in its ongoing investigation of slumping online giant America Online, requesting documents related to the AOL Time Warner online unit's practice of offering steeply discounted subscriptions to key marketers. An AOL Time Warner spokesman declined to comment. The SEC is investigating whether or not America Online improperly accounted for some ad revenue. In the quarter ending June 30, America Online's ad revenue fell 48% while subscription revenue rose 6% to 1.9 billion, but it reported it had lost around 850,000 subscribers in the quarter.
Senators trying to overturn the Federal Communications Commission new media-ownership rule last week claimed they now have sufficient support to vote to overturn the rule in September, after Congress returns from its August break. Their resolution of disapproval would still have to get a vote by the House and also require President Bush's signature, both unlikely prospects, but Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Trent Lott, R-Miss. said they were hopeful a Senate vote would put pressure on the House to act. ... Ubi Soft Entertainment named Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners West, San Francisco, agency for two video games planned for a $10 million launch this fall, "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," and "Beyond Good and Evil." Bulter, Shine & Stern, Sausalito, Calif., handles Ubi Soft's Tom Clancy video games. ... The Federal Trade Commission upheld a complaint that Polygram, now known as Vivendi Universal, illegally conspired with Warner Music to promote a 1998 Paris recording of The Three Tenors (Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavorotti.) While Warner, now part of AOL Time Warner, earlier settled the case, Vivendi had challenged the ruling that a 10-week moratorium on promoting other recordings of the tenors was illegal. Vivendi plans to appeal. The FTC had first filed the case in 2001. Warner agreed to settle the case then by stipulating it would not take such actions again. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao88s.