ADAGES;ONE KNIGHT STANDS FOR NIKE;NO JFK ON TALK SHOW STUMP; XEROX TAKES THE LOWE ROAD;KIA HACKS OFF THE BIG APPLE; THE LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP;GAP..SARA... BILL VS. STEVE

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Who was that portraying Nike boss Phil Knight in that Ken Griffey Jr. spot last night? None other than Mr. Knight himself, making his Nike ad debut in a commercial launching baseball phenom Griffey's mock run for president. The chairman is seen in a faux news interview, insisting Griffey's campaign isn't some blatant pitch for a new shoe line. "Once," Mr. Knight says of his appearance, "and never again."

John F. Kennedy Jr.'s appearance on CNBC to deny rumors he may run for Al D'Amato's Senate seat sparked new speculation-that Junior will host a TV talk show on politics. Michael Berman, co-founder with JFK Jr. of George, admits to preliminary talks on a show, "But it won't be John on the air. He has his hands full running a magazine."

Before a red Lamborghini could be displayed in a Rochester, N.Y., building as a prop in Lowe Direct's 10-year direct marketing retrospective for Xerox, doors and columns had to be removed. Lowe Direct CEO Bob Lieber and Prez Paul Levett meant the exhibit for client staffers, but local media made it look like a car show. Lowe folks wonder if they should take the show on the road.

Kia's funny new TV campaign, breaking today from San Francisco, shows a yellow Kia Sephia taxi chasing a yellow Toyota Corolla taxi through New York. Kia ran the chase scene for 120 days in the city to prove the upstart carmaker's durability, but the faux taxis weren't allowed to pick up fares. "We pissed off many New Yorkers. But they'll get over it. They're tough," says Kia marketing chief Dick Macedo.

"From the country you hate, a film you'll love." So goes a proposed-and rejected-marketing line for "The White Balloon," a new flick from Iran playing the art-house circuit. This gets our Jerry Della Femina award of the week. Years ago, Della Femina stopped cold a meeting with then-client Panasonic by telling them they should use the tagline "From those wonderful folks who brought you Pearl Harbor."

East Coast and West Coast shops are buzzing that The Gap wants an agency to lend some strategic help. "It's a rumor," a Gap spokesman says, stating the obvious. But "there is no specific account for bid right now."...Does Sara Lee need a Polo partner? Sara Lee is doing a deal with Ralph Lauren for a line of women's undergarments and loungewear, which makes an agency review likely...Four more years of this? At an International Data Group conference attended by 160 tech marketing and agency execs, Clinton took 42% of a presidential straw poll. Steve Forbes came in second at 29%. Third place went to Other. Dead last: Bob Dole.

Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Alice Z. Cuneo, Jennifer DeCoursey, Jeff Jensen, Keith J. Kelly, Chuck Ross and Fred Danzig.

Got an Adage? Tell Brad by phone, (213) 651-3710, ext. 111; fax, (213) 655-8157; or email, BradJohnson@cis.compuserve.com.

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