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A word from the wise

Bertelsmann belatedly is getting into the Internet book sales business. What took so long? Management seer Peter Drucker, speaking last week at an International Data Group marketing conference the day before Bertelsmann's announcement, noted the German media powerhouse nixed an early move into Web sales after hiring a U.S. market researcher to study the then non-existent market. Drucker, 88 years old and the wisest person in the room, says the inane study concluded not a single book would be sold over the Internet. Says Drucker, author of 27 books and a fan of "One cannot research something that does not exist."

Riney pioneers next mass medium

Black Star held a Riney-created radio promo in SF and Montana offering a Harley to the person who showed up at the brewery with the biggest tattoo of the Black Star logo. A guy in Montana appeared with the tattoo across his back. The tattoo was tested to be sure it was permanent. In the tradition of the Old West, the bud won by acclamation of those present. He spent $1,000 on his tattoo to win a $22,000 bike, a return on investment worthy of Warren Buffett. Black Star will repeat the stunt in other cities.

Past and future of Intel ads

The bad news for Euro RSCG DSW Partners is it's no longer Intel's sole U.S. agency now that Intel has added Messner Vetere Etc./Euro RSCG to the roster. The good news is DSW still is working for the chip maker, and Intel seems happy with the Euro network. Intel's longtime agency sought a merger partner in 1996, talking with Euro, JWT, Bates and Publicis. DSW's Euro merger and Euro's snaring of the global Intel biz were announced the same day in March 1996. DSW boss John Dahlin has acknowledged Intel likely would have moved from DSW to a global agency if DSW had remained independent. Tech ad insiders expect Intel's creative product to improve dramatically with Messner on board. "It's been a long time since Intel's done smart, intelligent advertising," one top tech creative says. "I'm sure they're looking for more strategic messaging. . . . Messner would be the place to get that."

Rain of terror . . . Sizing up FCB

El Nino is playing havoc with commercial production out in, uh, sunny California. "We didn't have rain-out days, we had rain-out weeks," harped an N.W. Ayer insider who made the trek to shoot GM's brand ads. The "People in motion" spots break this week. . . . "Drive happy," FCB/NY's new theme for Republic Industries' Alamo, sounds familiar -- perhaps because Nissan and TBWA Chiat/Day used it as a teaser to launch "Enjoy the ride" in 1996. Now that Nissan's Bob Thomas has moved to Republic, maybe pitchman Mr. K will follow? . . . Kevin O'Connor, CEO of newly public DoubleClick, named his son Cormac Edison O'Connor. Dad says giving his kid the initials "CEO" was a "total fluke." . . . Oh, the weighty issues of being the CEO. Chief Executive is adding a new monthly column, "My Favorite Golf Hole." . . . An FCB press release says it "is the largest advertising agency in the United States." FCB ranked fifth last time Ad Age reported the numbers.

Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Alice Z. Cuneo and Jean Halliday.

Got an Adage? Tell Brad by phone, (213) 651-3710, ext. 111; fax, (213) 655-8157; or e-mail,

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