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PFIZER'S $15 MIL ACC'T LANDS AT GOTHAM

[new york] Pfizer has assigned its estimated $15 million new corporate account to Gotham, said executives involved in the review. The review was handled by Advertising Agency Register.

First Brands adds creative to review

[danbury, conn.] First Brands has expanded its media review to include a consolidation of creative assignments, with $35 million in spending. J. Walter Thompson USA and incumbents Y&R Advertising and McCann-Erickson Worldwide, all New York, are participating. Incumbent Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, resigned. The review is being done in-house.

DDB Needham seeks to stay in U S West review

[denver] DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, is lobbying to stay in the $70 million U S West pitch after DDB Needham's Dallas office won the new telecom assignment from Level 3 Communications. Billing estimates for Level 3 vary from $30 million to more than $100 million. DDB Needham's stance is that the Dallas and Chicago offices are competitive with each other. A U S West spokesman said late last week the telco is reviewing if it will allow the agency to stay in. The other finalists are Bozell Worldwide, Seattle; and Campbell Mithun Esty and Martin/Williams, both Minneapolis. Incumbent N.W. Ayer & Partners, New York, declined to participate.

Nike said to be seeking sports equipment buy

[beaverton, ore.] Nike is said to be shopping for possible acquisitions that could help its entry into the sports equipment market. Sports marketing executives say Nike has been eyeing Rawlings Sporting Goods Co. for at least a year. "We do not comment on takeover rumors," said Paul Martin, Rawlings' chief financial officer. A spokesman for Nike's equipment division also wouldn't comment.

Ford makes upfront deal with several Fox units

[new york] Ford Motor Media has closed a unique TV upfront deal with a number of Fox properties, according to executives familiar with the pact. Included is Fox Broadcasting -- including the NFL, and three Fox cable channels: FX, Fox Family and Fox News. The deal is said to be worth at least $50 million. None of the parties involved would officially comment. Also, USA Network has finally closed a cable TV upfront deal with Starcom Media Services, a division of Leo Burnett USA, Chicago. The deal is for $20 million-plus at an average cost-per-thousand increase of 5%, according to an executive familiar with the terms. A USA spokeswoman said a deal had been consummated "but at a much higher CPM."

Postal service ends test of `Auto Friday'

[washington] The U.S. Postal Service announced last week it will discontinue its test of "Auto Friday," an advertising direct-mail program for day-certain delivery launched in Milwaukee, previously expected to roll out in Baltimore later this month (see earlier story on Page 49). New Postmaster General William J. Henderson made the announcement after discussions with members of Congress and the newspaper industry.

Midas chooses TN Media for $25 mil media acc't

[chicago] Midas International tapped TN Media for its $25 million media buying account after a review that included Carat ICG. It had been with True North's Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, which handles creative.

Jenny Craig trims finalists to eight

[la jolla, calif.] Jenny Craig Inc. has reduced the agencies in the review for its $40 million account to BBDO West, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Carat ICG, Los Angeles; the Richards Group, Dallas; Team One, El Segundo, Calif.; and WongDoody, Seattle; as well as incumbents Suissa Miller and Western International Media, both Los Angeles. Bob Wolf Partners & Co., Los Angeles, is the consultant.

Compaq spotlights `Q' in branding campaign

[houston] Compaq Computer Corp. will promote the "Q" from its logo as the signature in its global branding campaign from DDB Needham Worldwide, New York, debuting June 16 in The Wall Street Journal. "We will use our unique `Q' as a worldwide symbol" of commitment to customers, said Michael Heil, senior VP-worldwide sales and marketing.

Dunkin' Donuts hits Net with first Web ads

[randolph, mass.] Dunkin' Donuts launches its first Internet ads this week, from Cone Interactive, New York, to tout Coffee Coolatta iced coffee drink and a new blended fruit drink.

F.Y.I.

Sens. Jack Reed (D., R.I.) and Edward Kennedy (D., Mass.) introduced a bill that would erase 100% of ad deductibility for tobacco companies failing to adhere to proposed FDA restrictions on tobacco ads. . . . Pharmacia & Upjohn to BMP DDB, London, from Bates Dorland for creative on its $40 million account for Nicorette smoking cessation products outside the U.S. . . . Nielsen Media Research has announced it's delaying its DART system introduction until Sept. 15. . . . Nissan Motor Corp. USA confirmed it had settled Mattel's lawsuit accusing it and its agency, TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif., of trademark infringement for using Barbie and Ken doll lookalikes in a 1997 TV spot. . . . Chrysler Corp. unveiled its Five-Star dealership certification to improve customer service and loyalty. About 800 of the marketer's 4,500 dealers are now certified. . . . Michael Keeshan is taking a six-month leave of absence as chief strategic officer and worldwide account director at Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, starting Aug. 1. No replacement is planned; he is expected to consult on Saatchi projects during his sabbatical. . . . Tom Hollerbach to president-CEO of BBDO West, Los Angeles, from exec VP-general manager. He replaces David Lubars, who left last month to become creative director, Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis. . . . Thrifty Rent A Car will soon start a review for its $8 million creative and media account. Ackerman McQueen, Tulsa, Okla., resigned.

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