During the one-month period leading up to this column, the retirement of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s Joe Camel earned 20 network TV news stories, or 10 minutes of national airtime. That and 61 other major news stories made Joe the No. 1 marketing-related news story of the month in SPINdex's sample of influential news outlets.
The RJR decision's SPINdex score of 993 was nearly three times greater than the next biggest story of the month, General Motors Corp.'s 10-year sponsorship deal for NBC's Olympics coverage, which earned a score of 395.
DDB Needham Worldwide's winning back of the McDonald's Corp. account ranked third, with a SPINdex score of 351.
America Online's controversial decision to sell subscribers' phone numbers earned it fourth place with a SPINdex score of 338.
The first-ever TV commercial Emmy nominations placed fifth, with a SPINdex score of 230.