LATE NEWS;A-B IS TRYING OUT NEW BUD LIGHT CHARACTERS;LEVI'S UNLEASHING $60 MIL WIDE LEGS EFFORT;LINCOLN ROLLING OUT USED CAR PROGRAM;GOLD GETS AD POST AT PACKARD BELL;3 NETS EXPAND FUNDING FOR NIELSEN RIVAL;GM EXPECTED TO HIRE CREATIVE DIRECTOR;FTC NEAR DEAL ON LEASING AD TACTICS;THE GAP MOVES ONTO TV WITH BABY GAP SPOTS;INFORMIX DOUBLES SPENDING, SEEKS GLOBAL AGENCY;GATEWAY WILL SPLIT $70 MIL GLOBAL ACCOUNT;BMW NEARS DECISION ON REGIONAL SHOPS;F.Y.I.

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[st. louis] Anheuser-Busch has begun testing two spots for what likely will be the next major campaign for its Bud Light brand. Creative, by DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, centers on a pair of crafty salesmen who use Bud Light to lure unwitting customers. The characters will replace the "I love you, man" character in Bud Light's current spots. An executive familiar with the campaign said there is a "strong possibility" the spots will be aired nationally during the 1997 Super Bowl.

[san francisco] Levi Strauss & Co. this week breaks one of its largest campaigns in recent years, an estimated $40 million to $60 million effort, with a spot that shows a man and woman who begin flirting with each other in an elevator. A quick montage of scenes of love, marriage and a baby follow, ending abruptly when the elevator doors open and they part ways. The spot is tagged "Levi's Wide Leg jeans. It's wide open." Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, handles.

[dearborn, mich.] After a pilot program in four markets this summer, Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln brand starts a national rollout of its factory-certified used car program by expanding to four other states and the Southeast Dec. 9. Detroit shops Young & Rubicam and sister shop Wunderman Cato Johnson are handling, as well as for a separate dealership-certified program for Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit, is doing Ford Division's program, now rolling out in the Southeast and nationally in spring.

[sacramento, calif.] Packard Bell NEC named Mike Gold senior VP-advertising and corporate communications, a new post. Mr. Gold, 42, formerly was president of London-based M&C Saatchi, whose New York shop handles Packard Bell.

[westfield, n.j.] ABC, CBS and NBC have agreed to provide additional funding to Statistical Research Inc. for an expansion of the SMART TV measuring system. The networks have already spent about $30 million on the project and the additional funds will bring that total to about $40 million, according to an executive with knowledge of the effort. SMART first launched in Philadelphia in February 1994. Eventually the networks hope that the SMART technology will evolve into a competitor to Nielsen Media Research.

[detroit] General Motors Corp. is expected to announce this week that it is hiring a creative director reporting to Phil Guarascio, VP-general manager of marketing and advertising at GM's North American Operations. The general responsibility of the new post is to work with the six vehicle marketing divisions to review ad strategy developments.

[washington] The Federal Trade Commission on Nov. 21 is expected to announce an agreement with four automakers to settle allegations of misleading lease ad tactics. The four automakers are General Motors Corp., American Honda Motor Co., American Isuzu Motors and Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America. At press time, the FTC was negotiating with a fifth automaker to enter the settlement, sources said.

[san francisco] The Gap makes a significant move into TV this holiday season with a new campaign for Baby Gap. The Gap also will increase the TV presence it had last holiday season for the Old Navy Clothing Co., with a campaign in New York, San Francisco and other major markets. Advertising is done in-house.

[menlo park, calif.] Informix Software is doubling spending to $10 million and seeking a global agency; incumbent Hodskins Simone & Searls, Palo Alto, will defend. Rumors circulated that the database marketer's two key rivals, Oracle Corp. and Sybase, also are talking to agencies. Oracle and agency Fathom, Los Angeles, denied reports Oracle is talking to agencies. Sybase strongly denied it was talking to agencies; Dahlin Smith White, Salt Lake City, handles creative on the estimated $5 million account.

[north sioux city, s.d.] Gateway 2000 said it plans to split its estimated $70 million worldwide account between its existing in-house agency and a global agency to be named in the first quarter next year. The PC direct marketer's current key outside agencies are Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, which works with the in-house shop and will be in the review; Finex, London, which does European and Japanese creative; European media buyer Optimedia, London; and Japanese media buyer Dentsu, Tokyo.

[woodcliff lakes, n.j.] BMW of North America is expected Nov. 22 to pick the agency that will handle its Eastern region dealer account. Kelley/Dexter, Boston, is the only incumbent among the four contenders. In the Midwest, Kolon, Bittker & Desmond, Troy, Mich., is the only incumbent among four shops.

Beringer Wine Estates to Goldberg Moser O'Neill, San Francisco, from Publicis/Bloom, New York, for its estimated $8 million to $10 million account. . . . Teleport Communications Group is in the early stages of a $5 million to $7 million review. Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York, had handled. . . . Jet USA to CMG Communications, New York, as first agency for the airline's estimated $6 million account. . . . Leslie Zeifman to publisher of TVSM Publishing, New York, from VP-group publisher, Wenner Media.

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