EVENTS & PROMOTIONS;INSIDELINE;HANNA-BARBERA GIVES NASCAR RACING TEAM A CAR 'TOON-UP IN '96

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Hanna-Barbera Productions and Diamond Ridge Motorsports, Charlotte, N.C., have linked to field a family-theme Nascar team called Cartoon Network Wacky Racing. The team will compete in next year's 31-event Winston Cup Racing Series, and will have access to the world's largest cartoon library for its vehicles and uniforms, and on-site kid-targeted attractions. Hanna-Barbera and the Cartoon Network are both units of Turner Entertainment Group. The effort was coordinated in-house.

Chase Manhattan Bank launched a high school essay contest in Tempe, Ariz., site of Super Bowl XXX, where Chase is the largest corporate employer through its credit card processing center. Free tickets to the game will be awarded to 22 student essayists on the theme of overcoming obstacles. The contest is promoted locally; entry deadline is Dec. 15.

Jim Hensen Productions and Kohl's Department Stores have joined forces with Kermit the Frog for a "Hoppy Holidays" promotion running Nov. 19 through Dec. 24 at the 128-store chain. The effort includes the special purchase offer of a $12.49 plush Kermit the Frog doll clad in holiday attire with each store purchase of $30 or more. The chance to win a four-day family trip to Orlando to see the Muppet Vision 3-D attraction at Walt Disney Co.'s MGM Studios theme park is included in the promotion, which is backed by local TV and print ads, created in-house.

Neiman Marcus Co. kicked off its second annual Holiday Express Train tour last week, setting out on a 10-city run to benefit American Express Co.'s "Charge Against Hunger" campaign. The retailer packed the train with gift items priced between $7.50 and $4,800 that shoppers can purchase. Tour sponsors receive special display space in one of the train's 11 cars.

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