The Week

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Fast-food giant McDonald's Corp. will cut the "Super Size" option from its menu as it faces increasing pressure to trim excessive serving sizes that nutritionists say encourage overeating. By the end of the year, McDonald's will phase out 42-ounce drinks and its 7-ounce french fry container as part of a "healthy lifestyle initiative," according to an e-mail distributed to franchisees. The chain will also drop its 14-ounce yogurt parfaits, Icee-branded slushes and frozen carbonated beverages by the end of 2005. The move comes just a month after "Super Size Me" won the directing award at the Sundance Film Festival. The 90-minute documentary follows director Morgan Spurlock's 30-day all McDonald's diet, and chronicles how it affected his health. Between segments about declining physical education programs and extreme dieting trends, Mr. Spurlock visits his doctor, who scolds him for his 25-pound weight gain and rising cholesterol and liver toxicity levels. A McDonald's spokesman said the changes were in the works since 2002 and the move to end super-sizing had nothing to do with the film. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap42s

Calif. Lottery set to select agency

The California Lottery this week is scheduled to announce the winner in its 4-year-long search for an agency for its $100 million, 4-year ad contract. But true to a process that has been filled with challenges, pitfalls and other quirks, presentations were held before a panel which included the lottery's attorney, as well as representatives of the lotteries in Louisiana, Maryland and Arizona. Even barring any further protests, which have plagued previous pitches, the Lottery has a new obstacle to finally awarding the contract. The four-member Lottery Commission, which must give its blessing to the choice, lacks a quorum because it is down to two members and is awaiting appointments from new California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Eclipse Mints courts celebrities

Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. is hitting up Hollywood to promote Eclipse Mints, the gum giant's first-ever foray into the mint category in the U.S. Taking a page from competitor Kraft Foods' Altoids, the mints will be touted well beyond traditional channels with the message that Eclipse Mints are the conduit to close conversations. Among the efforts is a large-scale celebrity seeding program targeting talk-show host Ryan Seacrest of "On Air with Ryan Seacrest" and partnering with "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" cast member Jai Rodriguez as a spokesman for a satellite media tour. A tie-in with Yahoo! March 11 and sampling on airlines will also support the estimated $30 million national TV, cinema and outdoor ad campaign, from Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, Chicago, which breaks March 8.

P&G lobs protest at Frito-Lay's Stax ad

Procter & Gamble Co. asked PepsiCo's Frito-Lay to stop running ads claiming consumers prefer the taste of Lay's Stax potato crisps to P&G's Pringles, calling the ads false. But Frito-Lay has no intention of pulling the ads. "Our consumer preference research is based on fact and the advertising will continue," a spokesman said, adding Frito-Lay's national research showed consumers prefer the regular flavor of Stax to the regular flavor of Pringles by a 5-4 margin. "Our data shows, and we have a very large base, a directional preference toward Pringles [vs. Stax]," the P&G spokeswoman said, though she added: "They were very close." P&G's letter asked Frito-Lay to stop the campaign, which began Feb. 27 with full-page ads in USA Today and other newspapers and included a new TV ad from BBDO Worldwide, New York, that aired during the Academy Awards. P&G would not comment on its next step, although letters like the one it sent are often a precursor to a formal complaint to the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap42y

FYI...

Cathy Constable, who supervised AT&T Corp.'s $815.1 million advertising budget as VP-marketing communications and brand management, has left. She now has her own consulting company, C2, Allendale, N.J. Connie Weaver, exec VP-public relations, marketing communications and brand, will head marketing efforts. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap42j ... ConAgra Foods shifted its largest brand, Banquet, to Omnicom's DDB Worldwide, San Francisco, after a review. Fogarty Klein Monroe, Houston, was the incumbent on the account. According to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, the marketer spent only $6 million in media in total for the first 11 months of 2003 on Banquet. But ConAgra plans to introduce a variety of new products to bolster the brand-ConAgra's largest in terms of sales, the spokesman said-and that spending will likely grow this year. An executive familiar with the account said billings are anticipated to be near $20 million. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap43f

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