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Marriott Hotels, Resorts & Suites, Washington, is reviewing direct marketing agencies for its loyalty programs. Incumbent FCB Direct, New York, is participating.

Bausch & Lomb's Polymer Technology Corp., Wilmington, Mass., to Kobs & Draft, New York, from Brugnatelli & Partners for its $3 million to $4 million Boston Envision contact-lens account. Kobs will handle direct response TV spots and print ads.

Technology is rapidly rewriting the rules of direct marketing, more than 400 attendees learned at the New England Direct Marketing Association's annual conference and exposition in Boston. From computer online information services to in-line, on-demand printing capabilities, computer and telecommunications technologies are forcing direct marketers to consider new approaches to prospecting and inquiry fulfillment.

Direct Marketing Association is seeking a successor for Senior VP-Marketing Lindsay Schieffelin, who leaves June 30. The post involves building and retaining the DMA's membership base.

A surge in direct marketing dealmaking demonstrates renewed vigor in the industry, according to 1993 U.S. survey results from Vos, Gruppo & Capell, a New York investment bank. Eighty-six joint ventures and strategic alliances marked a 79% increase from '92, while Vos recorded 24 public offerings, a 71% gain. The number of mergers, acquisitions and buyouts rose 38% to 171 transactions, in part reflecting the absorption of weaker companies. In another encouraging sign, the number of bankruptcies fell 45% to 11 filings, but 22 businesses closed, a 5% increase.

Advo, Windsor, Conn., in July completes a national rollout of the Gerber Little Baby Book. The quarterly magazine has co-op advertising and coupons aimed at 1 million households with infants up to 3 months old. Besides Gerber Products Co., advertisers include Eastman Kodak Co., Duracell, Scott Paper Co., Clorox Co. and Ford Motor Co. Separate versions for families with older infants and toddlers are in the works.

Playboy Enterprises, Chicago, named Acxiom Corp., Conway, Ark., to develop a corporate marketing database, including Playboy readers, and Collectors' Choice Music and Critics' Choice Video customers.

Bronner Slosberg Humphrey, Boston, informed clients last week it will no longer enter industry awards shows, in what's believed to be the first outright ban by a major agency. ... Among agencies that still do enter contests, Ogilvy & Mather Direct offices won four of 27 top awards at the European Direct Marketing Association's Best of Europe awards, claiming the most of any agency. ... Lintas Marketing Communications, Warren, Mich., won Best of Show at the Direct Marketing Association of Detroit's Target Awards for its work on the introduction of Continental Airlines' BusinessFirst service.

Gary Levin coordinates Direct Marketing.

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