Mattel talks to Goodby about tech toys launch
[los angeles] Mattel is negotiating with Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco. The assignment is to launch a line of technology-enhanced toys and educational products, made in conjunction with Intel Corp. Spending is estimated between $10 million and $20 million. The products will be previewed in February at Toy Fair and rolled out later next year. Goodby would join Mattel's roster of agencies, which includes Ogilvy & Mather, Los Angeles, and Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco. It's unclear if Mattel contacted other agencies about the work, as well. Mattel declined to comment.
Merck sends $60 mil Vioxx biz to DDB Needham
[white house station, n.j.] Merck & Co. awarded its estimated $50 million to $60 million Vioxx account to DDB Needham Worldwide, New York. Advice & Advisors, New York, handled the non-roster shop review. The as-yet unapproved prescription drug is in a new class of pain relievers known as COX-2 inhibitors, which have no stomach side effects.
ZDTV picks FCB for $10 mil account
[san francisco] ZDTV, the cable channel affiliated with Ziff-Davis, named Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, for its $10 million account, which has been at Blazing Paradigm, San Francisco. FCB will work on advertising, direct and strategic issues.
Silicon Graphics will switch to SGI name
[mountain view, calif.] Silicon Graphics Inc. plans to change its name to SGI, adopting its short-hand identity. The computer marketer has been mulling a name change as part of a comprehensive brand study with Landor Associates, San Francisco (AA, April 27). SGI's new look will be featured in a $10 million brand campaign under development at McCann-Erickson Worldwide, San Francisco, which this spring won SGI's global account. SGI executives weren't available at press time.
ESC moves $12 mil acc't to Warwick Baker O'Neill
[needham, mass.] ESC Medical Systems awarded its $12 million account to Warwick Baker O'Neill, New York, its first agency. ESC is expected to launch a female-targeted, consumer campaign prompting women to ask their doctors about ESC products, which include hair and tattoo removal technology. Advice & Advisors, New York, handled the review.
DeJoseph exits JWT brand planning post
[new york] Jeff DeJoseph resigned Aug. 20 as exec VP-director of brand planning at J. Walter Thompson USA. Mr. DeJoseph said he is in negotiations to join a venture outside the advertising business. Carol Potter, senior partner, director of account management, will assume Mr. DeJoseph's administrative duties until a successor is named.
GM exits bidding for Kia, but Ford makes offer
[seoul] General Motors Corp. decided not to bid for South Korea's insolvent Kia Motors Corp., but Ford Motor Co. and three Korean companies have entered the race, Bloomberg News Service reported. Ford, already a big shareholder in Kia, and Hyundai Motor Co., Daewoo Motor Co. and Samsung Motor submitted bids by the Aug. 21 deadline, said Banque Nationale de Paris, the adviser to the government's auction. GM concluded that Kia and its affiliate Asia Motors "would not be compatible with our strategic needs," said Alan Perriton, president of GM Korea.
Papa John's newspaper ad lashes out at Pizza Hut lawsuit
[louisville, ky.] Papa John's International used a page ad in USA Today and The Dallas Morning News Aug. 21 to respond to the lawsuit filed against it by rival pizza chain Pizza Hut, owned by Tricon Global Restaurants. Papa John's, the no. 4 U.S. pizza chain, called industry leader Pizza Hut a Goliath suing David. Papa John's founder-CEO John Schnatter called the lawsuit "nonsensical." Pizza Hut is charging Papa John's with deceptive marketing practices.
WorldCom unit names Donino for $8 mil in business
[columbus, ohio] WorldCom Advanced Networks has selected Donino, White & Partners, Atlanta, to handle its new $8 million account. The assignment involves developing a brand position for the newly formed division of WorldCom that includes the assets of what was CompuServe Network Services and ANS Communications under America Online, plus the GridNet unit of WorldCom and the Web hosting unit of UUNet.
Taco Bell menu adds white-meat chicken items
[irvine, calif.] Taco Bell, a chain known for value prices, is switching to all-white meat for its chicken products in a move to boost quality. The change comes with a 10 cent price hike for all chicken items. It is being touted via two new 30-second TV spots from TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif.
Labatt USA, as part of its effort to triple sales volume over the next five years, is building its headquarters marketing and field sales forces. . . . Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida to Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, for its $8 million account, previously handled on a project basis by several shops. . . . National Hockey League is said to have sold its broadcast and cable TV rights to Walt Disney Co.'s ABC and ESPN for $600 million. The five-year deal begins with the 1999-2000 NHL season. . . . Barry Frey to senior VP-marketing and media partnerships, NBA Properties, New York, from managing director-international sales and new business development, USA Networks International. He assumes some responsibilities from Gary Stevenson, who remains a consultant.