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[Washington] Four years after it drew criticism from the Rev. Al Sharpton and others because it launched an agency search limited to shops with $350 million in billing, effectively excluding minority agencies, though most recruits are minorities, the U.S. Army last week unveiled a search minus similar restrictions. Seeking bidders for its $147 million annual account (not all of which is media) as part of a one-year contract that could be extended, the Army required 35% of the contract be used for small-business subcontractors, including 15% to small businesses and 10% to women-owned business. Bids are due Aug. 5. The timing makes it likely that Leo Burnett's current contract, already extended until Sept. 30, could have to be extended again. The Army said more than 50 agencies have indicated an interest in bidding, including Burnett.

Cadbury puts $20 million behind fruit-flavored gums

[Parsippany, N.J.] Cadbury Adams USA will spend an estimated $20 million this September to tout the entry of its Dentyne and Trident brands into the growing fruit-flavored-gum segment. New Dentyne Tango will get TV and print from agency J. Walter Thompson, New York, a unit of WPP Group, while Trident Tropical Twist will bow an integrated campaign from Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York.

Pop princess produces exclusive song for Benz

[Stuttgart, Germany] Pop singer Christina Aguilera exclusively produced her song "Hello" for the launch of the new A-Class from DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz in 24 European markets. A spokeswoman here for the carmaker said she won't appear in the TV spots from Springer & Jacoby, Hamburg. She added there are no plans for the ads to run in the U.S., where the car isn't sold. The singer stars in recent TV spots in the U.K. for Virgin Mobile by WPP Group's Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/ Y&R (AA, June 7).

ABC to air mini-films during comedy lineup

[New York] ABC will air a series of four, three-minute small films by new talent, during its Monday night comedy lineup for three weeks starting June 28. The shows, dubbed "micro-minis," were created by the ABC Talent Development Program. The films, split into one-minute, self-contained units with a serialized story, are aimed at keeping viewers hooked to the Disney network. The micro-minis will also run on abc.com. Production on the shorts began June 7 and are the work of writers from all over the country.

Oxygen character writes her own blog

[New York] Oxygen Media is promoting a new program, "Good Girls Don't," with a blog by a character in the show. Jane (whose musings are ghosted by Nancy Cohen, a writer for the program) blogs about her 20-something escapades, sexual and otherwise. Traffic is low, but the buzz is audible among other blogs, according to Oxygen (see related story, Interactive, P. 26).

Essence Communications taps SpikeDDB as AOR

[New York] Essence Communications named Omnicom Group-backed SpikeDDB to be its first agency of record for the African-American market, with responsibility for all Essence properties, including Essence magazine, the Essence Music Festival and the Essence Awards Show. Separately, spirits brand Tanqueray is hiring SpikeDDB to oversee creative brand assignments targeting African-American markets; that business was previously split among other specialty shops.

Nintendo spot wins best of show at Addys

[Dallas] A Nintendo ad featuring grade school students rushing to purchase games mimicking moves from Nintendo games was named Best of Show-Broadcast at the American Advertising Federation awards last week. The ad, called "School's out," from Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, could be a top tip for the upcoming International Advertising Festival in Cannes. A print ad in Tacoma Guitars called "Tell your story" from Foote Cone & Belding, Seattle, was named Best of Show-Print during Addy Awards ceremonies at the AAF National Conference. DeVito/Verdi, New York, won the most Addys with a total of 11, followed by GSD&M, Austin, Texas.

AOL Latino breaks Spanish-language effort

[Miami] AOL Latino breaks a major Spanish-language TV, radio and direct-marketing campaign this week focusing on educating Hispanic families about the benefits of going online. In the spot, a boy asks his parents why they don't have Internet access at home like his friends. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Casanova Pendrill, Irvine, Calif., is AOL Latino's creative agency and Market Vision, San Antonio, handles promotions.

FDA asks GSK to pull commercial for Paxil

[Washington] The Food and Drug Administration has asked GlaxoSmithKline to stop showing an advertisement for its antidepressant Paxil CR, saying the ad is false and misleading for suggesting the drug is useful in a broader range of patients than originally approved for. The pharmaceutical maker has until June 23 to respond to the letter, but a GSK spokeswoman said the ad had already stopped running May 9, as previously planned. Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson, New York, handles Paxil and did the 60-second spot that the FDA questioned.

Movie advertising surged 48% in 2003

[New York] Spending on movie advertising grew sharply in 2003, and it wasn't all on-screen, according to a report from the Cinema Advertising Council. The report found CAC members, who own nearly 73% of U.S. screens, reaped ad revenue of $315.1 million in 2003, up 48% from $212.3 million in 2002. Onscreen ads rose 45% to $276.7 million, while lobby ads and off-screen promos rose 79% to $38.4 million. Leading advertising categories included health and beauty, confectionery, media, automotive, military, fashion, broadcast and cable TV, video games and government.

FYI...

The Virginia Settlement Foundation named Barber Martin, Richmond, Va., to handle its $4 million account that had been handled by Work Advertising, Richmond.

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