ACE MAY NOT BE THE PLACE FOR JOHN MADDEN

Company Clarification Indicates Madden's Future Role Unclear

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- In a turnaround from an initial announcement earlier this week, Ace Hardware Corp. indicated that ABC's Monday Night Football announcer John Madden may not continue as a major presence in its ads.

The retailer-owned cooperative, based in Oak Brook, Ill., has just awarded its $30 million advertising account to Omnicom Group's

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Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco.

An Ace spokeswoman initially said Mr. Madden, under contract until 2005, will continue to be used in the company's advertising.

Now, in a clarification, the company said it has not determined what Madden's role will be.

Meanwhile, AdAge.com has learned that the creative presented in the Goodby pitch did not use Mr. Madden in ads, executives familiar with the matter said.

Goodby declined comment.

Ace, facing pressure from home improvement giants Home Depot and Lowe's, has a solid base as the place to go to for last minute, do-it yourself supplies, but wants to move beyond being the store to pick up a single nail on Sunday, one executive involved in the advertising said.

The "helpful hardware man" positioning is expected to continue.

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