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When former wrestler Jessie Ventura became Minnesota governor, supporters picked up on Levi Strauss & Co. boards about the physical superiority of their pants' models with buttons reading, "Our governor can beat up your governor." The Taco Bell dog put "Yo quiero" into the American idiom. And work for Apple's iMac glowed.

Year after year, Chief Creative Officer-Worldwide Lee Clow churns out advertising icons, a draw for securing more than $250 million in new billings from such clients as Barnes & Noble and Kinko's. Still, the `97 AA Agency of the Year lost about $50 million in billings. While Apple has begun to turn around, most troubling is the agency's linchpin client, Nissan North America, struggling with a stubborn sales decline that even ad icons and barrels of awards can't seem to fix. Rumors persist the account is prepared to go into review, although that talk has been circulating for several years. Similarly, Levi Strauss & Co. continues to struggle, with some executives expecting the jean's marketer to report a 1998 sales decline of as much as 10%.


The New York office remains below the standards of the California agency where Mr. Clow spends most of his time. The search is on for a successor to New York creative chief Eric McClellan, and Jerry Gentile was recently sent in from the Playa del Rey office to temporarily assume those duties. President-CEO Bob

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