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(Aug. 27, 2001) -- Vitamin and supplement retailer General Nutrition Centers, a division of Netherlands-based Royal Numico, quietly has begun to shop around for a new agency.

The retailer, currently facing a flurry of lawsuits from franchisees over advertising and other issues, earlier this summer broke a campaign from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, New York, based on the classic film Fantastic Voyage.

Roberta Gaffa, senior vice president of marketing of GNC, declined to comment on the search, but issued a statement saying the retailer "will be expanding our marketing initiative with existing and new partners in 2002."

GNC spent $26.3 million in media last year and $16.5 million for January through May of this year, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. "We haven't heard anything," said a spokeswoman for Deutsch, adding that Deutsch isn't GNC's exclusive agency.

Copyright August 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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