ATLANTA-Coca-Cola Co. is expected as early as next week to break a new campaign for Diet Coke, its first work from Lowe & Partners/SMS and the brand's first TV support in close to a year. The estimated $70 million campaign is expected to promote the refreshment value of Diet Coke, possibly with the theme "This is refreshment." Later in the first quarter, Coca-Cola will premiere the bulk of 30 new Coca-Cola Classic spots from Creative Artists Agency, Beverly Hills, Calif.
CDC pulls AIDS radio spot over Red Hot problem
WASHINGTON-The new anti-AIDS campaign from the Centers for Disease Control got even more controversial Friday when the federal agency pulled a radio spot. The CDC took the action after learning the ad's star, Anthony Kiedis of the rock group Red Hot Chili Peppers, was once charged with sexual battery and indecent exposure. CDC Director David Satcher also ordered Ogilvy & Mather, Atlanta, to explain its selection of Mr. Kiedis as spokesman. Agency officials were not available to comment.
NBC cruises to finish line in Bowl ad deals
NEW YORK-Following a flurry of last-minute Super Bowl ad deals, NBC is believed to be nearly sold out on its coverage of Super Bowl XVIII Jan. 30. Norwegian Cruise Lines bought two 30-second units to break a new "sultry" ad campaign from Goodby, Berlin & Silverstein, San Francisco. Visa USA will unveil a new 30-second spot for Visa Gold, via BBDO Worldwide.
Reebok works out new marketing structure
STOUGHTON, Mass.-As Reebok International restructures its senior marketing management, its new agency, Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, appears on the verge of unveiling a new campaign themed "Reebok. Believe." Angel Martinez, formerly president of the Reebok fitness division, becomes exec VP-global marketing. Dave Ropes remains VP-marketing services but will now report to Mr. Martinez instead of Reebok Chairman-CEO Paul Fireman. Mr. Fireman said the changes address Reebok's effort "to develop a unified global structure." A Reebok spokesman would not comment on the new campaign.
Ad tax threat withers in Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY-The threat of an ad tax battle in Oklahoma apparently will end soon. State Sen. Louis Long recently introduced a resolution calling for a referendum on extending the state's 4.5% sales tax to advertising and other services. But Sen. Long said he had been persuaded to strip advertising from the proposal by newspaper lobbyists and memories of Florida's politically disastrous attempt in 1986 to tax advertising.
Ameritech ready to dial up $50M review
CHICAGO-Ameritech will start a review this month of its estimated $50 million consumer telephone services account, currently at Tatham Euro RSCG for creative and Bayer Bess Vanderwarker for media buying. The incumbents are contenders. DDB Needham Worldwide and Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, which handle other Ameritech assignments, may also compete.
Holidays give mixed blessings to retailers
CHICAGO-Major retailers' December sales, reported last week for the crucial holiday sales period, reflected mixed results. Discounters suffered somewhat, as No. 1 Wal-Mart Stores' sales at stores open at least one year rose only 4% in December compared with the same period a year ago; for the same period, No. 2 Kmart's same-store sales increased only 1.1%. But December sales at middle-market department stores soared, with No. 3 Sears, Roebuck & Co. posting a 9.3% same-store gain and Penney's a 10% same-store increase. Upscale department stores
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and specialty stores' gains averaged in the low single digits.
Warner-Wellcome hastens $100M review
MORRIS PLAINS, N.J.-Warner-Wellcome Consumer Health Products, the joint venture of Warner-Lambert and Wellcome, is accelerating plans to select two global ad agencies. The products-including Sudafed, Actifed, Listerine, e.p.t, Efferdent and Benadryl-have spending of more than $100 million. Longtime Warner-Lambert agency J. Walter Thompson USA, New York, and Wellcome's Backer Spielvogel Bates, New York, are known to be in the review while outsider Foote, Cone & Belding is trying to get in. It is unclear whether Young & Rubicam, New York, another Warner-Lambert agency, is being considered.
Mobil could be readying $15M-$20M review
FAIRFAX, Va.-Mobil Oil is said to be talking to agencies about its estimated $15 million to $20 million motor oil account, now at DDB Needham Worldwide, New York. Mobil denied the search.
DDB Needham Chi. prez seeks revamped duties
CHICAGO-Susan Gillette, president of DDB Needham Worldwide's office here, reportedly has asked to restructure her job responsibilities. In an internal memo, she said the "evolutionary structural changes" that will be announced in the next few weeks would neither involve her leaving the agency nor the adding of any new managers. Rumors have circulated for months about Ms. Gillette's desire to leave the president's post and cut back her hours for personal reasons. DDB Needham Worldwide Chairman Keith Reinhard will be in Chicago next week for meetings.
Mobil plays ball with group seeking D.C. team
WASHINGTON-Mobil Oil has joined the team trying to bring Major League Baseball back to the nation's capital. Capital Baseball, which hopes to attract an expansion team within a few years, is looking for other corporate sponsors willing to spend $25,000 to $2 million for the honor. Arnold Advertising, McLean, Va., is helping recruit advertisers.
AT&T says PersonaLink eases superhighway use
NEW YORK-AT&T has outlined plans for its PersonaLink Services, a new network service available this summer that AT&T claims will make the information superhighway more accessible. "Intelligent assistants" software can be customized to let a user filter available information and locate exactly what is requested.
Revived `Homicide' kills competition
NEW YORK-NBC's relaunch of its acclaimed-but initially low-rated-police drama "Homicide: Life on Street" handily won its 10 p.m. (ET) Thursday time period. The episode, starring Robin Williams, earned a 17.3 Nielsen rating and a 28 share.
Quaker State hops to Chiat's beat
OIL CITY, Pa.-Look for Quaker State ads soon that may stir more interest than Burt Reynolds' marital status did. The Energizer Bunny campaign from Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif., helped convince Quaker State Chairman-CEO Herb Baum to move the marketer's $17 million motor oil/package products account to Chiat from Grey Advertising, New York. Ads will break in March, and neither Mr. Baum nor Chiat executives would discuss creative, but Mr. Baum did call the Energizer effort "a very unique way of approaching the battery market, which is not too dissimilar from motor oil."
Wrangler lassos TBWA for $18.6M account
PARIS-Wrangler awarded its $18.6 million French account to TBWA-de Plas, 10 months after the jeans marketer chose the TBWA network to oversee its account in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and the U.K. Wrangler's French incumbent agency was Palti Mikanowski.
Campbell, Reebok stand by injured Kerrigan
DETROIT-Campbell Soup Co. and Reebok are sticking by champion figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, who was attacked late last week by a man wielding a blunt instrument following practice for the U.S. National Championships. At press time, it was still unclear whether she could compete in the Winter Olympics. But Campbell will continue to air its new soup spot from BBDO Worldwide, New York, featuring Ms. Kerrigan. Reebok and agency Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, had planned to shoot a spot with Ms. Kerrigan next week. Those plans now depend on what Ms. Kerrigan wants, a Reebok spokesman said.
L'Oreal plans beautiful $20M launch for Excell
NEW YORK-Cosmair's L'Oreal will introduce Plenitude Excell A 3 Skin Revealing Lotion with more than $20 million in advertising this year. Excell is Plenitude's first alpha hydroxy acid-based skin treatment, but unlike other such products also contains a sunscreen. Publicis handles.
BT plans consolidation: British Telecom wants to reduce the number of agencies on its roster and take a more centralized approach to advertising, now handled by more than a half dozen agencies. The marketer, which spends $75 million annually, is hearing pitches from Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, Abbott Mead Vickers/BBDO and Simons Palmer Denton Clemmow & Johnson, all London shops currently handling some BT business.
Russian newspapers avoid strike: More than a dozen major Russian dailies called off strike threats Jan. 6 after Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin exempted printing presses from tax increases that could have raised costs to newspapers as much as 600%. The strike was planned to coincide with a U.S.-Russia summit and the opening of Russia's new Parliament this week.
Sega has TV game plan: Sega plans to transmit videogames into Japanese homes by a broadcast satellite, BS4, and cable TV by 1997. Sega, public TV entity Japan Broadcasting, software companies Capcom Konami and Taito will allow home use and on-line competition. Rival Nintendo has announced similar gaming plans.
Coke moves French media: Coca-Cola France awarded most of its French media buying account to McCann-Erickson Worldwide's Universal Media, Paris, keeping only sponsorship activities with incumbent Carat Espace. Universal has the account in all other European markets.
Damage control at Y&R London: Following the December departure of Young & Rubicam London's Chief Executive Jerry Judge and Managing Director Tim Lindsay, Y&R Europe Chief Executive Fernan Montero has temporarily assumed responsibility for the disaster-prone London shop. Mr. Montero said he may buy another agency, and may take legal action against Messrs. Judge and Lindsay for their abrupt departures, which he claims violated their employment contracts.
Free Discovery in Asia: The Discovery Channel is giving TV viewers in Indonesia and parts of China a free taste of its programming starting on Palapa B2P next week before scrambling its signal March 1. Discovery is also introducing Latin American programming in February. Discovery intends for the programming to be ad-supported by 1995.
Unilever media goes to O&M: Unilever consolidated its estimated $16 million Arabian Gulf media buying business at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. The account will be handled in O&M's Manama, Bahrain, office.
S. Korea ends restriction: South Korea has stopped requiring government permission for importers to sell foreign periodicals, potentially lowering cover prices. About 14.7 million copies of 200,000 foreign titles were imported to South Korea in 1993.
Volkswagen shifts French buying: Volkswagen awarded its French media buying and planning business to Carat Espace, Paris, from DDB Needham, which keeps VW and Audi's creative accounts. GGK Emotion keeps creative for the Skoda car.
ACCOUNT ACTION: Burger King's new New Zealand account to D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Auckland. .|.|. Canberra, Australia-based Commonwealth Environmental Protection Authority's new $3 million campaign to persuade drivers to use unleaded gasoline to Lintas, Melbourne. .|.|. IBM's $3 million U.K. software account to Still Price Lintas, London, from GGK and D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles. .|.|. Pacific Link Communications' $1.5 million telephone account to Bozell, Hong Kong, from J. Walter Thompson Co.
Kraft General Foods is reviewing its estimated $10 million Crystal Light drink account now at Ogilvy & Mather, New York. Included are O&M plus three other KGF agencies: Grey Advertising; Young & Rubicam; and D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.
Monsieur Henri Wines named Margeotes Fertitta Donaher & Weiss; Angotti, Thomas, Hedge; and Weiss, Whitten, Stagliano, all New York, as finalists for its $3.5 million Stolichnaya vodka account now handled by Calet, Hirsch & Ferrell.Data General Corp. is reviewing its estimated $3 million-plus computer account. Incumbent Lois/USA, New York, is participating.Nabisco Foods Group to Long Haymes Carr Lintas, Winston-Salem, N.C., from in-house for its estimated $12 million domestic print and outdoor media buying.
Gerber Products Co. to Noble & Associates, Springfield, Mo., from Grey Advertising, New York, for its $10 million-plus U.S. food account. Van Heusen Co. to Weiss, Whitten, Stagliano, New York, from Lintas for its $10 million account.
Musicland Stores Corp. to W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich., from in-house for its estimated $10 million national TV creative account.Sandoz Consumer Pharmaceuticals to Grey Advertising, New York, from Bloom FCA for its $8 million Ex-Lax account.Kenwood U.S.A. Corp. to Citron Haligman Bedecarre, San Francisco, from Kresser/Craig, Santa Monica, Calif., for the car and home audio system marketer's $4 million to $6 million account.Kentucky Fried Chicken Corp. to the Mingo Group, New York, from Equinox Advertising, Chicago, for its $5 million minority account.
Sun-Maid Growers to Hal Riney & Partners, San Francisco, from Grey Advertising, Los Angeles, for its $4 million to $5 million raisins account.Knogo Corp. to Genova Hartwick Juliano, Greenwich, Conn., from in-house for the electronic anti-theft system marketer's $2 million account.SnowBlade Corp. to Griffin Bacal, New York, for the winter sports products marketer's new $1.3 million account.
ParcPlace Systems to Katsin/Loeb, San Francisco, for the software marketer's new $1 million account.Baltimore Orioles to Richardson, Myers & Donofrio, Baltimore, from Trahan, Burden, & Charles.
Canyon Ranch to Weiss, Whitten, Stagliano, New York, from Great Scott Advertising for the fitness resort's account.
International Learning Systems to Barker Campbell & Farley, Virginia Beach, Va., first agency for the educational product marketer's less than $1 million account.United Parcel Service to Brierley & Partners, Dallas, for a new direct-marketing loyalty program aimed at targeted segments of UPS' customer base.
Hearst Corp. acquired Associated Publishing Co., an independent publisher of Yellow Pages telephone directories in west Texas. The directories will be linked with both Hearst's Newspaper Group and its New Media & Technology Division, which is exploring electronic information-delivery services.Safeway Stores has returned its advertising circulars to The Washington Post after defecting to direct mailer Advo in September. Safeway in Denver last month also returned to The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News.
FOR THE RECORD
Borden announced a restructuring that includes the sale of its North American snack food, seafood, jams and jellies, and other smaller businesses, with combined 1993 sales of about $1.25 billion. Such a sale could affect W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich., agency for Borden snack foods. Borden said it will focus on developing its pasta and sauces, dairy, niche grocery, and international foods. Agencies for those products are Grey Advertising, New York, and CME KHBB, Minneapolis.
Cornelis Boonstra retired as president of Sara Lee Corp., effective Dec. 31, citing personal reasons but surprising food industry analysts and observers. His responsibilities will be assumed by Exec VP Steven McMillan and Senior VP Donald Franceschini.Clorox Co. said it has a definitive agreement to purchase the assets of Miles Inc.'s S.O.S business. Besides S.O.S brand products, Clorox will acquire Tuffy plastic scouring pads and Jets soap pads as part of the agreement.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. will eliminate 5,000, or 9.8%, of 51,000 jobs worldwide in the next two years as part of a restructuring effort.Boston Chicken will buy 84 Roy Rogers restaurants in the Philadelphia market from Hardee's Food Systems for $22.3 million, making the city its biggest market. Boston Chicken, poised for rapid expansion, said it will make further acquisitions, particularly on the East Coast. Bayer Bess Vanderwarker, Chicago, is Boston Chicken's agency.