Adages - In a Wisconsin corn patch: the end of advertising

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Adages mourns the passing of a landmark: America's largest billboard, a 6,300-square-foot sight-for-sore-eyes (or to some, simply an eyesore) that once greeted weary travelers on a lonely cornfield stretch of Interstate 90 outside of Wisconsin Dells, Wis. The big bruiser was recently laid low to make room for "Kalahari Kondos," part of an African-themed local attraction called The Kalahari Waterpark Resort & Convention Center.

"Our goal is not to tear down an icon," intoned Todd Nelson, owner and president of Kalahari, in a solemn statement to the press. "But instead ensure that we are responding to our consumers' requests, which includes the building of additional luxury condos."

Here's to you, old departed friend.

The art of the spiel

Speaking of landmarks, Adages dropped in on one of New York's own icons, Donald Trump, on the set of his upcoming NBC reality show "The Apprentice" as a crew shot a cinema ad touting the program. Mark Burnett, the show's producer, oversaw the shoot for the Regal Entertainment Group, and the ad will appear in Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres, Edwards Theatres and Hoyts Cinemas nationwide in December.

"The Apprentice," originally scheduled to air in February but now moved up to January, features 16 contestants who compete "to win a six-figure job with the world's toughest boss." At one point the ad script called for The Donald to say, "These guys are gonna wish they were eating bugs when I get through with them." The reference was to NBC's successful "Fear Factor."

"I don't like that line, it has no class," Donald informed Burnett, who tried, but couldn't get his star to utter the bug word. The Donald also didn't cotton to, "This January, greed is good."

"That line will follow me around forever," he told Burnett, citing Leona Helmsley who once said, "Only the little people pay taxes," a line that still haunts her.

Burnett told Adages that "The Apprentice" celebrates the good as well as the bad of the business world. "When I came here I had nothing," says Burnett, a Brit who once sold T-shirts on the boardwalk in Venice Beach, Calif. "With the right attitude and entrepreneurial instincts you can really succeed in America. And who better to learn from than the master?"

He nodded to Trump, who was delivering his lines with aplomb: "On my show there's no voting, no jury, this is a dictatorship and I decide who stay and who goes. It's not personal. It's business. My advice to them: Stay focused, be paranoid and by all means, get even."

Hard tale

Robert Leacock, son of cinema-verite legend Richard Leacock, and a highly regarded spot and documentary director in his own right, just finished lensing a flick for Harley Davidson, produced by Radical Media. The film documents a cross-country trek to Harley's 100th anniversary blowout at the bike maker's home plant in Milwaukee. Robert started out in Las Vegas, and during much of the trip he rode backwards on a Harley, as a passenger, shooting road footage. "It's an odd sight," Robert says. "I became something of a legend among the Harley riders. They all called me `that ass-backwards guy.' At least I wasn't staring at someone's helmet."

As the world burns

CBS just closed a deal for product placement in a special Thanksgiving episode of its daytime soap, "As the World Turns." The sponsor: Butterball turkeys. The bird brand will be written into the script. For example: "You are looking at the last Butterball in the store," says one of the characters as the camera comes in "tight on an enormous, frozen Butterball turkey as it lands in a pan with a thump." The character then exclaims: `Now is that a bird or isn't it?"' A Butterball will also star in two episodes of CBS's "The Guiding Light."

Pass the stuffing, please.

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