ADAGES;MARTHA'S LOOMING BIG BREAK(UP);'SPIN'S' SCENTS & SENSIBILITY;AWAITING THE ORACLE OF ELLISON;NO-SHOWS...BERG STAYS PUT

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Time Inc. isn't talking and Martha Stewart has fallen silent since she told Ad Age last week she expected to break with the media company soon. "Very shortly the deal will be done," she said, adding that Time Inc. is still expected to handle distribution of her magazine, "with a very minority" position. Stewart was more circumspect on where her financial backing would come from. Scuttlebutt is First Boston and Chase Manhattan passed on the deal, but Stewart has found a number of backers who will finance her without taking on a new publishing partner. Also on the Stewart beat, McCall's is said to be under fire for an October story in which Stewart says she regrets not having more kids but was prevented from doing so because her husband at the time had cancer. Word is ex-hubbie Andy Stewart is hopping mad and a retraction or clarification will run in the January issue. McCall's publisher Gruner & Jahr Publishing USA wouldn't comment.

Yet another stinking fragrance strip, this one an insert for Giorgio Beverly Hills' Hugo Boss in the October Spin. "The world is getting smaller smell better," Hugo admonishes. Flip past the insert, and immediately staring at you is an in-your-face full-page photo of a guy in a gas mask. It's Tim Bob, bassist for Rage Against the Machine, the overly tattooed band featured as the cover story. Was this a witty editorial play by Spin or edgy media tie-in by Grey/NY, agency for P&G-owned Giorgio? A Giorgio spokeswoman says the company and agency are "registering dissatisfaction" with the magazine. But Spin may not see a problem. Counters a spokesman: "We thought Rage could use a little Hugo."

Oracle shop Fathom/LA is working on what could be a $100 million global branding campaign now slated for early '97 to push boss Larry Ellison's scheme of network computing. It will be a TV effort, possibly with print and other media. That's assuming it happens. One exec, noting Ellison's flightiness when it comes to ad spending, says there's a chance Oracle may scrub the whole deal. "Nothing's written in stone," the exec says.

The American Magazine Conference will draw about 700 people to Bermuda this week, but it doesn't look to be a record-breaker. There are notable no-shows. Best excuse: Conde Nast Prez Steve Florio, one of the honorees marching up Fifth Avenue in today'sColumbus Day parade, right behind the grand marshal, NY Gov. George Pataki. Others not making the Bermuda run: Fairchild Pubs Prez Michael Coady and K-III Mags Prez Harry McQuillen. Coady, meanwhile, has new business to attend to: He's expected soon to sign off on Jane, a new twentysomething women's mag from ex-Sassy Editor Jane Pratt. . . . BBDO convinced John Berg to stay in NY as exec VP-sr. acct. dir. Berg, a veteran on Pizza Hut who recently began working on the AT&T account, had considered but then decided against an offer to run FCB/

SF's Levi's business.

Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Keith J. Kelly, Alice Z. Cuneo and Mark Gleason.

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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