H&R BLOCK JUMPS INTO $15M TAX-SEASON CAMPAIGN; NEW MEXICO PONDERS TAXING OUT-OF-STATE MEDIA; STARTER INVOKES TEAM SPIRIT FOR NEW CAMPAIGN; HARDEE'S HEATS UP FOOD-ORIENTED ADS; HEALTHCARE SERVICES BOOST AD SPENDING 60%; SHOWTIME STUDIES BLOCKBUSTER OF NAME CHANGE; WPP STUDIES NEW ROLE FOR O&M'S INTERACTIVE UNIT; CD-ROM MAKER, SIMON FORGE INTERACTIVE TIES; THOMSON, SUN UNVEIL INTERACTIVE PLATFORM; MAILERS SEEK END TO MONOPOLY ON THIRD CLASS; WARNER CD-ROM UNIT TAPS KATSIN/LOEB; UPS BUYS SAME-DAY DELIVERY SERVICE;FHP TURNS TO O&M FOR $25M-$30M ACCOUNT; AMERICA WEST SIFTS THROUGH $18M REVIEW; FCC LOOKS AT SPOT ON DIAL FOR SATELLITE RADIO; COCA-COLA POLAND PICKS DMB&B; AT&T DIALS UP NEW PHONE-ANSWERING DEVICE; BASIC CABLE RATING CLIMBS 5.8% IN PRIME TIME; WESTERN PUBLISHING ACCOUNT RESIGNED BY O&M; COMMISSION STEERS TOWARD AUTO CENTENNIAL

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KANSAS CITY, Mo.-H&R Block Tax Service today starts its annual tax-season TV campaign, estimated at $15 million, promoting its general and Rapid Refund electronic filing services. Bernstein-Rein handles creative and network buying; spot buying is in-house. Meanwhile, upstart Jackson Hewitt Tax Service begins its own $2 million TV, radio and direct mail testimonial campaign Jan. 17, handled in-house.

SANTA FE, N.M.-The New Mexico Taxation & Revenue Department on Jan. 11 will conduct a public hearing on a proposal to tax the revenues of out-of-state broadcasters and publications.

NEW HAVEN, Conn.-Starter Sportswear Corp. last weekend launched its 1995 campaign from new agency Chiat/Day, New York, tagged "It's about team." The 30-second "Unity" spot takes a stand against the glorification of individual athletes and stresses the value of teamwork.

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C.-Hardee's Food Systems this week breaks a food-focused campaign from Deutsch, New York, with a "Big taste. Little money" tagline. The ads promote a 99 cents bacon cheeseburger, which will combat Burger King Corp.'s 99 cents Whopper and McDonald's Corp.'s 95 cents Big Mac.

NEW YORK-Healthcare researcher CareData Reports estimates consumer ad spending by healthcare services such as health maintenance organizations and hospitals rose nearly 60% in 1994 to $250 million.

NEW YORK-Industry executives say Showtime Networks is leaning toward adopting the name of Blockbuster Entertainment Group, the new Viacom unit to which it reports. But Showtime, the parent of cable channels Showtime and the Movie Channel, said no decision has been made. In anticipation of a boost in ad spending, Showtime Networks awarded its estimated $20 million-plus account to Young & Rubicam from Amil Gargano & Partners.

NEW YORK-WPP Group is considering a plan to rebrand Ogilvy & Mather Direct's Interactive Marketing Group as a holding company resource for several WPP units, executives said. The plan also calls for creating a joint venture with a multimedia production company.

WASHINGTON-Magnet Interactive Studios, a CD-ROM developer, and Simon Marketing, Oak Brook, Ill., are expected to announce this week that they will collaborate on interactive promotional projects. The arrangement is said to have been negotiated by Interactive Media Partners, being formed by International Creative Management's recently departed senior VP-marketing and licensing, Bob Colvin.

LAS VEGAS-Thomson Consumer Electronics and Sun Microsystem Computer Co. announced at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show a new interactive platform. The companies said the platform will allow cable companies to begin offering interactive services by late this year and at a much lower price than rivals. Thomson said its agency, Ammirati & Puris/Lintas, New York, had produced interactive demonstration ads for clients RCA, Stanley Tools and MasterCard International. Also at CES, Nintendo of America unveiled Virtual Boy, a hand-held 3-D videogame unit that will ship this summer for less than $200. Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, is Nintendo's agency.

WASHINGTON-A coalition of advertising mailers and alternate delivery companies wants the U.S. Postal Service to open up its $9.8 billion third-class advertising mail monopoly to more competition. Phil Miller, president-CEO of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Alternate Postal Delivery, is the founder of the Coalition for the Relaxation of the Private Express Statutes, supported by the Advertising Mail Marketing Association.

BURBANK, Calif.-WarnerActive, the recently launched CD-ROM publishing unit of Warner Music Group, has selected Katsin/Loeb, San Francisco, to handle advertising.

ATLANTA-United Parcel Service has purchased Scottsdale, Ariz.-based SonicAir, which provides same-day delivery anywhere in the U.S. as well as next-flight-out services internationally.

COSTA MESA, Calif.-FHP International Corp.'s health division, the third largest health maintenance group network in the country, has awarded its estimated $25 million to $30 million account to Ogilvy & Mather, Los Angeles, following a review that included incumbent Goldberg Moser O'Neill, San Francisco.

PHOENIX-America West Airlines expects to complete the review for its $18 million account by the end of next month. Incumbent Rosenfeld, Sirowitz, Humphrey & Strauss, New York, has been invited to pitch. Other contenders include Asher/Gould, Los Angeles, and Rubin Postaer & Associates, Santa Monica, Calif.; Campbell Mithun Esty, Fallon McElligott and Carmichael Lynch, all Minneapolis; Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif.; Gardner, Geary, Coll & Young, Goldberg Moser O'Neill and Mandelbaum Mooney Ashley, all San Francisco; and El Segundo, Calif., agency Team One, a unit of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Worldwide.

WASHINGTON-Federal Communications Commission on Jan. 12 will consider allocating a portion of the broadcast spectrum to satellite digital-audio radio services, allowing for seamless national radio programming. The National Association of Broadcasters opposes the move, saying local radio stations would lose listeners and advertisers. Satellite radio providers think it will grow the radio market.

WARSAW-Coca-Cola Poland last week moved its account to D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, including Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite. McCann-Erickson had handled the account, the latest in a series of Coca-Cola losses for McCann worldwide.

NEW YORK-AT&T is introducing the AT&T Information Center, a new phone-answering device that allows users to get not only voice messages, but e-mail and weather and sports information-all displayed on their TV sets. AT&T said it plans to market the machine in Boston this spring, expanding it to other markets later. Young & Rubicam is the agency.

NEW YORK-The aggregate prime-time rating for the first 15 weeks of the 1994-95 season rose 5.8% for basic cable networks to 14.6 from 13.8 for the same period in 1993-94, according to a Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau analysis of data from Nielsen Media Research. The aggregate rating for the Big 4 broadcast networks fell 3.2% to a 42.8 from a 44.2 during the first 15 weeks of the 1993-94 season (see story on Page 21).

RACINE, Wis.-Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago, last week resigned its Western Publishing Co. account, citing changes in strategy after Western's acquisition by Hasbro last year.

DETROIT-American Automobile Centennial Commission is in the driver's seat for the 100-year anniversary of the U.S. auto industry, with the celebration set to start in June 1996. Commission trustees include Keith Crain, vice chairman of Crain Communications Inc. and publisher of Automotive News; Peter Brown, associate publisher and editor of Automotive News; Maud Lyon, director of the Detroit Historical Museum; and Harold Skramstad, president of the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.

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