[New York] The man who was to have been Major League Baseball's new marketing chief is instead finalizing a deal to remain at Radio City Music Hall Productions to head up a new sports division there. Sports marketing insiders say Arlen Kantarian, currently a Radio City exec VP, will also have an equity stake in the new Radio City Sports & Entertainment Group, which will create TV programming and stage events. MLB has already begun hunting for new candidates, although insiders say a few owners haven't given up on Mr. Kantarian. Steve Solomon, chief operating officer at the National Hockey League, is said to still be the top alternative.
[Atlanta] Chuck Fruit, VP-director of media, and other Coca-Cola Co. executives heard presentations from five roster agencies last week for the company's consolidated U.S. media planning account. A decision is expected within a few weeks. Leo Burnett USA, Chicago; Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.; and Lowe & Partners/SMS, McCann-Erickson Worldwide and D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, all New York, are vying for the account, which covers all of Coca-Cola's U.S. brands and $500 million in spending. Mr. Fruit's presence discounted rumors he had resigned.
[Auckland] U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck's New Zea-land subsidiary pulled a commercial for a cattle drug last week that satirized the assassination of President Kennedy. In the spot, a calf labeled "JFK" is shot with Magic Bullet anti-parasite chemicals after a masked figure is seen loading a gun by a grassy knoll. Viewers complained about the ad, by Bates Worldwide-owned Campaign Palace.
[Universal City, Calif.] DreamWorks Interactive, a division of the DreamWorks SKG studio, is conducting a search for an ad agency. Among those on DreamWorks' list: Black Rocket, San Francisco; Butler, Shine & Stern, Sausalito; Ground Zero, Venice; and Wongdoody, Seattle.
[Brussels] Procter & Gamble Co. is cutting back on ad spending on European TV channels after tough price negotiations. Helmut Thoma, chief executive of Europe's largest TV channel, RTL, confirmed a 10% drop by P&G for this year. The move is apparently in response to a 1995 memo from P&G Senior VP Robert Wehling stating P&G can't afford to continue spending a quarter of net sales on marketing support.
[Pittsburgh] The U.S. steel industry, enjoying a renaissance that has gone relatively unnoticed by many Americans, is planning a national ad campaign for later this year. Some two dozen agencies have been sent questionnaires for the project, which will spend at least $10 million.
[Atlanta] Anheuser-Busch is in the midst of thorny negotiations with Atlanta Centennial Olympic Properties on the status of A-B's 1996 Summer Olympics sponsorship of the snack foods category. A-B has sold its Eagle snacks manufacturing plants to Frito-Lay and is trying to sell the brand. Discussions have focused on A-B doing one of three things: selling the rights back to ACOP; contracting other companies to provide products and services under the Eagle brand name; or doing the same but under a generic name.
[Cypress, Calif.] Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, bracing to launch five new and two redesigned models over the next year, is preparing a brand image campaign to tie together the disparate vehicles, Automotive News reports. "We're looking at building the brand, not each individual model," said Kevin Ormes, group VP-sales and marketing. G2, Huntington Beach, Calif., is the agency on the estimated $200 million account.
AutoNation USA, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has named Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, and Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, as finalists for the used-car dealerships' ad account....Fleet Bank, Boston, to ClarionDirect, Greenwich, Conn., first agency of record for its estimated $25 million direct marketing account....Turner Broadcasting System approved plans to partner with Sports Illustrated to launch in December a 24-hour sports news and information network called CNN/SI (AA, Jan. 15). ...Lois/USA, New York, last week acquired Eisaman, Johns & Laws, Los Angeles, in what Ted Veru, Lois co-chairman and chief operating officer, said was a first step in building an international network....John McGrath to group chief executive, Grand Metropolitan, London, from chief executive at GrandMet's International Distillers & Vintners. Mr. McGrath succeeds George Bull, who becomes chairman of GrandMet. John Keenan succeeds Mr. McGrath, leaving his post as IDV's chairman....Wendy's International, KFC Corp., Taco Bell and Boston Market rushed to remove iced tea at their stores following a report from the Centers for Disease Control that brewed tea could cause gastrointestinal distress if not kept at 195 degrees.... Prudential Insurance Co. of America, Newark, N.J., is looking for an agency to handle a new assignment involving money management services, with billings estimated at $2 million to $8 million. Prudential managers are believed to be interested only in non-roster agencies, which would eliminate Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, and Deutsch, New York....Julie Lewit-Nirenberg has been named executive publisher of Sports Traveler, a new upscale women's magazine that will publish its second issue on March 5. She is currently head of the consultancy Lewit & Co. and prior to that had held the post of publisher at Mademoiselle....Coca-Cola Co. is expected to give the name Edge Advertising to its in-house agency for Coca-Cola Classic, whose advertising was formerly handled by Creative Artists Agency, Beverly Hills, Calif....Sara Lee Corp.'s L'eggs hosiery division has signed actress Jamie Lee Curtis as spokeswoman for L'eggs products. Advertising featuring Ms. Curtis will kick off later this year in an introductory campaign for L'eggs Reliance long-wearing pantyhose via Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, New York.