LATE NEWS;AYER SELLING AD:VENT TO MCCANN-ERICKSON;FORD DIVISION SLICING 2ND-QUARTER AD SPENDING;PACKARD BELL NEAR HIRING M&C SAATCHI;WPP WORKING TO CLOSE BDDP DEAL BY JUNE; COSMAIR READIES $20 MIL FOR BELLE COLOR LAUNCH;COMEDY CENTRAL SIGNS ESPN STAR CRAIG KILBORN;PARTIZAN WINS GRAND CLIO FOR LEVI'S SPOT;CONAGRA WEIGHS IN VS. KRAFT WITH CHEESE PROMO;ROGAINE GOES TO BAT WITH BASEBALL PROMO; BROADCASTERS, BREWERIES RECEIVE BOMB THREAT;F.Y.I.

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[New York] N.W. Ayer & Partners reached a deal to sell event marketing agency Ad:Vent to McCann-Erickson Worldwide to merge with its own event unit, Momentum IMC. An announcement is due later this month. Meanwhile, discussions stalled regarding the sale of Ayer to GGT Group, London, as GGT's interest in purchasing the $850 million agency waned. However, an Ayer executive said agency owner W.Y. Choi has talked with a few other possible buyers.

[Dearborn, Mich.] Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Division confirmed it is trimming spending on broadcast and print ads starting in the second quarter, saying it wants to curtail costs. But the amount of the cutback couldn't be determined. Ford said the cuts aren't linked to its massive ignition-switch recall; last fall's fumbled, $100 million Taurus launch; or sales incentives.

[Sacramento, Calif.] Packard Bell Electronics is close to hiring M&C Saatchi, New York, as its ad agency, foreshadowing a major move into traditional advertising by the No. 1 home PC seller. "No contract has been signed, but it's...going to happen," an executive said. Packard Bell has relied on co-op advertising; its ad account has been dormant at Kovel Kresser & Partners, Santa Monica, Calif. Separately, Packard Bell is reviewing its public relations account; incumbent Bohle Co., Los Angeles, hopes to keep the business but has cut 16 jobs.

[Paris] Talks between BDDP Group and London-based WPP Group about a sale of BDDP will continue this week, with BDDP owners hoping to strike a deal by next month. Because of a conflict between WPP client Unilever and Procter & Gamble Co., a client of Wells Rich Greene BDDP, New York, observers expect the New York agency to be spun off once a deal is completed, possibly to current WRG management.

[New York] Cosmair's L'Oreal this summer will introduce Belle Color hair coloring with $20 million in advertising from Publicis/Bloom. The line is from L'Oreal's European Garnier division, set to introduce makeup, skincare and haircare brands in the U.S. next year (AA, April 29). Those brands haven't been assigned U.S. agencies yet.

[New York] Comedy Central has wooed away one of ESPN's most popular "SportsCenter" anchors, Craig Kilborn, to host a show that will be the cable network's flagship program. "The Daily Show" will be a spoofy late-night news program, launching in July. A multimedia ad push for the show will hit in late June, created by agency Holland and the network's in-house creative team. Mr. Kilborn's departure last weekend is forcing ESPN agency Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., to revise some new commercials that began hitting last week for "SportsCenter."

[San Francisco] Partizan/Midi/Minuit, London, won the Grand Clio for a spot created with Bartle Bogle Hegarty for Levi Strauss & Co., San Francisco. Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York, chalked up the largest number of Gold Clios, six, for its work for Little Caesars Pizza and Sauza Conmemorativo tequila. TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif., picked up five Gold Clios, including one for its regional campaign for Sunkist California pistachios.

[Omaha] ConAgra's Beatrice Cheese division is introducing an on-pack game this summer with the top prize of $1 million. The promotion kicks off with a free-standing insert June 2. Ebel Dunnell, Merrick, Chicago, handles. The promotion dovetails with Kraft Foods' huge in-store summer push for all its cheese brands beginning Memorial Day (AA, April 29).

[Kalamazoo, Mich.] Pharmacia & Upjohn is sponsoring a baseball "Rogaine Hair Raising Play of the Week" on ESPN. A similar car racing "Finish of the Week" will run on The Nashville Network beginning May 19, as promotional support for its hair regrowth product. Additional sports media are planned.

[Washington] The FBI on May 3 said it had received an anonymous letter threatening to bomb TV and radio stations airing alcohol ads, as well as breweries and their delivery trucks, Electronic Media reports. At press time, the National Association of Broadcasters was warning TV and radio stations via fax of the threat. The FBI said the letter blamed broadcasters for children's deaths in accidents involving alcohol.

J. Steve Davis to president-CEO, Young & Rubicam, New York, from exec VP-general manager, J. Walter Thompson USA, Chicago. Mr. Davis succeeds Ed Vick, who was promoted to chairman-CEO, Y&R Advertising, last month; JWT hasn't named a successor to Mr. Davis....Cruise Line International Association, New York, is expected to select either Harris Drury Cohen, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., or Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, as first agency for its $10 million to $15 million account this week....Joe Cronin adds the title of vice chairman, Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Worldwide, a new position. He is president-CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising/Pacific, Torrance, Calif....U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, is accepting solicitations for its Joint Recruiting Advertising Program, which it reviews every five years. The $10 million to $20 million account is held by Bates USA, New York....True North Communications, Chicago, acquired Harrod & Mirlin, Toronto. The $42 million agency will operate autonomously....Frito-Lay's chips made with Olean began testing April 22 in Grand Junction, Colo.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Eau Claire, Wis. The Max versions of Lay's, Ruffles, Tostitos and Doritos are handled by BBDO Worldwide, New York. The theme is "One taste and you will be a believer."...Some member states of the Multi-State Lottery Association, Des Moines, are seeking an ad agency for a project campaign. Agencies interested said the effort will include radio and TV for 22 states but the association defined it as small project....Mike Harper, 68, retired last week as RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp. chairman and will be succeeded by Steven F. Goldstone, 50....First Brands Corp., Danbury, Conn., consolidated $40 million of national broadcast media buying at McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, from McCann and Young & Rubicam, New York; and Leo Burnett USA, Chicago.

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