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[Seattle] Amazon has handed a new assignment to Publicis Groupe's Fallon, New York, without a review. The agency had already been conducting project work for Amazon. The new work is described as "non-traditional," and not likely to result in an advertising campaign. The company, which saw revenue rise 32% to $2.18 billion for the first six months of the year, has said it has no plans for advertising campaigns. Amazon's previous agency relationship was with independent Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.

Pfizer eyes medical and below-line shops

[New York] Pfizer hired Wannamaker Associates, Atlanta, to search for agencies specializing in marketing to medical professionals, executives close to the situation said. Pfizer declined to comment. Wannamaker did not return a call. Grey Global Group's Grey Healthcare and Omnicom Group's Cline Davis & Mann and Lyons Lavey Nickel Swift, all New York, are among Pfizer shops handling doctor-directed marketing. The drugs and agency assignments affected were not disclosed. Separately, Pfizer is talking to shops for below-the-line projects on its Viagra and Detrol brands, including Publicis Groupe's Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York; WPP Group's Fusion 5, Westport. Conn.; and independent DiMassimo Brand Advertising, New York.

Britney back for Pepsi; new TV ad shot in Rome

[Purchase, N.Y.] Britney Spears is back-in an international Pepsi commercial shot in Rome's Coliseum with Pink and Beyonce Knowles. A special rendition of the rock anthem "We Will Rock You" was done for the gladiator-themed spot, said to be one of PepsiCo's most expensive.

Various European offices of Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide worked on the production. The spot may not break before early next year, and North American markets are unlikely to see it, said an executive close to the situation. PepsiCo declined to comment.

Chevy opens ad launch for redesigned Malibu

[Detroit] Chevrolet launches its redesigned 2004 Malibu on national TV Oct. 13. Two 30-second spots from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., will spotlight the midsize sedan's upgraded interior, adjustable pedals and fold-down seats, dealers said. They expect the campaign will be the last use of the car line's "We'll be there" tag. The General Motors Corp. brand will unveil a new umbrella ad theme for its cars and trucks late next month. A Chevrolet spokesman said there will be an announcement this week but declined to comment further. Spending for the launch was not disclosed.

Big online push opens for AOL 9.0 Optimized

[Dulles, Va.] America Online, in a major online campaign breaking this week for its AOL 9.0 Optimized, takes over the home pages of several leading Web sites for two days (Oct. 15 and Oct. 16). Its Web ads include 15 different executions featuring the AOL running man icon promoting AOL 9.0's spam filters, SuperBuddy icons, parental controls and other features. Doner, Boston, handles media buying and planning; Omnicom Group's AtmosphereBBDO, New York, handles creative. Spending was not disclosed.

Sept. mag pages fall but revenue up: PIB

[New York] Magazine ad pages for September fell 4.5% from year ago levels to 23,952.17, Publishers Information Bureau reported. For the year through September, pages were up 0.3% from 2002 levels. On a revenue basis, September magazine ad revenue climbed 6.3% from last year to $1.94 billion; for the year through September, revenue was up 9% to $12.9 billion. Eight of 12 key PIB ad categories posted revenue gains in September over a year ago, while four categories (apparel & accessories, automotive, drugs & remedies, and toiletries & cosmetics) posted ad page gains as well as revenue gains.

Fitness chain picks Riney for $20M account

[San Francisco] Fitness chain 24 Hour Fitness assigned Publicis' Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, its estimated $20 million account. Interpublic's Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, San Francisco, a finalist in the review, produced creative for the fourth quarter and will continue as media agency of record.

ACNielsen seen tripling household panel size

[New York] VNU's ACNielsen Corp. will triple the size of its consumer household panel to more than 200,000 by next year as it seeks to provide more precise estimates of sales at Wal-Mart Stores, said executives familiar with the situation. ACNielsen declined to comment. ACNielsen and rival Information Resources Inc. have been vying to provide more complete coverage since Wal-Mart stopped providing sales data to syndicated research firms in 2001. Both companies currently have U.S. panels of about 70,000 consumers.

Reebok signs Vaccaro for basketball program

[Canton, Mass.] Reebok International hired former Adidas basketball consultant Sonny Vaccaro to be director of its Grassroots Basketball program and will pick up title sponsorship of two annual basketball events owned by Mr. Vaccaro and formerly sponsored by Adidas. Mr. Vaccaro is known as a power broker in the sport who brings athletes and shoe marketers together for endorsement deals. Omnicom's Arnell Group, New York, handles Reebok.

Business groups press for a U.S. spam law

[Washington] Business groups in Washington, including the national ad associations, are mounting a major drive to get Congress to enact an anti-spam law before adjourning for the year. Anti-spam legislation had been stymied by differences over how to define spam. Ad groups say the threat of a new California anti-spam law, which takes effect early next year, has greatly increased business interest in early action on a federal law that would set a national anti-spam policy.

FYI ...

Senior VP Steve Morrissey, one of two group account directors on the Mitsubishi Motors North America business at Interpublic's Deutsch, Los Angeles, left the agency last week. Deutsch confirmed his departure but declined to comment. Mr. Morrissey did not return a call. Deutsch Senior VP Tom Else is the other group account director on Mitsubishi. ... Interpublic Group of Cos. Senior VP-Investor Relations Susan Watson has left and her duties were assumed by Interpublic's New York-based Financial Relations Board unit. No successor was named and it was unclear if her post would be filled. ... Xerox Corp. will drop its global sponsorship with the International Olympic Committee after next summer's Athens games. Xerox became an Olympic sponsor in 1964 and joined The Olympic Partners program in 1994. The Olympic sponsorships cost $50 million to $75 million. ... Cablevision Systems unveils its Voom digital satellite pay-TV service Oct. 15. Interpublic's Lowe, New York, is expected to break ads for Voom in mid-October.

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