AD AGES

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What were they smoking?

Did R.J. Reynolds have its head up its . . . you know what . . . when it decided to run this ad from Winston-Salem's Long Haymes Carr? The execution, running only in so-called alternative mags such as Rolling Stone and Maxim, targets readers "who in our judgment would appreciate its humor," says a spokeswoman. Readers who presumably would rather kick butt than kick the habit. Winston claims no additives and great taste, but some find this ad tasteless. And that's no bull.

Spirits flow at Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi just gave its three agencies -- Grey's G2, the factory agency, and dealer group shops Deutsch and Grey/ Zimmerman -- a positioning line on which to develop new creative. The line, developed over 17 weeks by a 15-member brand ID team: "Spirited products for spirited people." The order: Come up with the next hot type of automotive advertising. G2 is under pressure to deliver strong work for the Galant sedan this August. "No review is planned," says Pierre Gagnon, the exec VP who took over in December as the marque's top U.S. exec. "G2 has to perform like any other agency. We've given them a challenge." One thing likely to go: The "Built for living" slogan. "I don't think it will stay," Gagnon says.

Conde Nast to bag `Currency'

Conde Nast's test of a financial mag for women, Currency, debuts in March, polybagged with select CN titles. An insider who has seen prototypes said CN will mail three versions for different demo groups: affluents, baby boomers, twenty-somethings. There's been a change in Currency: CN had planned two '98 issues -- March and October -- but now will do the one next month followed by an anniversary issue in March '99.

DEC . . . McCann . . . Gateway

Watchers of Digital Equipment Corp. wonder if mktg./sales chief Bruce Claflin will stay put after Compaq buys DEC. Claflin's response: "Compaq made no offers of employment to senior Digital management at the acquisition. Maybe I have too much confidence, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is something they'd like me to do and I'm very interested in hearing what it is." Claflin could end up running DEC if boss Robert Palmer exits. But Claflin, a veteran

IBMer with broad general management experience, also would be an interesting CEO candidate for some tech company . . . such as Apple. . . Del Monte and DFS Group stand by McCann-Erickson/SF, debunking Adages' report that both could be headed out the door (Jan. 12). Del Monte did talk to other agencies about a branding assignment before hiring Landor, but VP Mktg. Irv Holmes says Del Monte now is moving ahead on that work with both Landor and McCann. DFS Sr. VP James Conte says he's "very pleased" with the agency and has no intention of splitting . . . Though Gateway now is managing TV creative in-house from DMB&B/LA (AA, Feb. 2), a Gateway insider doesn't rule out giving the agency some future TV work. DMB&B is developing new ideas.

Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Jean Halliday, Ann Marie Kerwin and Judann Pollack.

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

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