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P&G readies launch for Crest Azure overseas

[cincinnati] Procter & Gamble Co. is preparing to launch Crest Azure -- a triclosan-based toothpaste to compete with Colgate-Palmolive's successful Total -- overseas and possibly in the U.S. A P&G spokesman had no comment. D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, handles Crest.

Crunchy M&M's will get $40 mil introduction

[hackettstown, n.j.] M&M/Mars is planning an ad blitz to launch crunchy M&M's, including the creation of a new M&M character who in one spot will interact with an as-yet-unchosen celebrity. The estimated $40 million campaign is planned to break before yearend. BBDO Worldwide, New York, is the agency.

Kinko's names 5 finalists in review

[ventura, calif.] Kinko's has selected Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco; Lowe & Partners/SMS and Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, both New York; TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif.; and Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., as contenders for its $40 million account. Hal Riney & Partners/Heartland, Chicago, and CPM Media Management, Chicago, previously handled creative and media, respectively.

AT&T begins ads for Digital One Rate

[new york] AT&T Wireless is expected to break advertising today for its new AT&T Digital One Rate wireless service. Print advertising will break in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The New York Times, with TV planned for later this month. Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, handles. The advertising includes the new Nokia digital phone and introduces the idea that consumers can now use wireless as cheaply and easily as regular phones.

Minn. tobacco pact halts some giveaways

[minneapolis] Tobacco marketers' $6.5 billion settlement of a Minnesota lawsuit last week included their agreement to several new marketing restrictions besides the withdrawal of out-of-home signs previously negotiated in other states. In Minnesota, tobacco companies will stop giveaways of non-tobacco merchandise containing tobacco brand names and halt ads on bus shelters and in transit vehicles. Earlier pacts in Florida, Mississippi and Texas give those states the same new restrictions won by Minnesota.

Fila narrows list to 5 finalists

[hunt valley, md.] Fila USA has chosen Leo Burnett USA, Chicago; W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich.; Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis; Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York; and Toth Advertising & Design, Concord, Mass., as finalists for its $15 million to $20 million account. This week, the agencies will be asked to develop creative and strategic work for the Grant Hill V sneaker to be launched this fall. Arnell Group, New York, previously had the account.

Nabisco talks to 3 shops about 1 account

[parsippany, n.j.] At least three agencies are in discussions with Nabisco Biscuit Co. for its account-specific marketing business to handle local marketing with retailers, until recently at True North Communications' MGR, Wilton, Conn. Pitching are J. Brown/LMC, Stamford, Conn.; and Reach Marketing and the Ryan Partnership, both Westport, Conn. Nabisco executives couldn't be reached at press time.

Women's Tennis Assn. signs pact with Regency

[new york] The Women's Tennis Association Tour, in significant moves, has inked marketing alliances with Regency Enterprises, producer of such films as "L.A. Confidential" and "City of Angels," and Puma AG, in which Regency holds a principal stake. Corel Corp.'s title sponsorship of the tour expires at yearend, and the company has said it won't renew its deal.

`TV Guide' signs letter of intent to buy TVSM

[new york] A letter of intent has been signed for News America Corp.'s TV Guide to acquire TVSM, with the deal scheduled to close as early as July. The cost to acquire is said to be approximately $75 million, according to those close to the deal.

Saab expected to ink global pact with Lowe

[gothenburg, sweden] Saab AB is expected to sign a contract by yearend with Lowe Group of Sweden as its global agency for a uniform brand message, Automotive News reports today. Regional agencies working with Lowe would no longer develop individual campaigns, Saab President Robert Hendry said. The global message would likely focus on Saab's airplane heritage, which Saab Cars USA's agency, Martin, Richmond, Va., is using in ads this year.

F.Y.I.

Young & Rubicam is expected to issue its initial public offering this week with trading estimated to begin at $21 to $24 a share. . . . Staples to Arnold Communications, Boston, for the office products retailer's direct business. . . . Triarc Beverage Group on May 12 launches a new Snapple line called Snapple Refreshers in 20-ounce plastic sports bottles. . . . Postal Rate Commission is due to make its long awaited recommendation on a postal rate increase today. The U.S. Postal Service has requested hikes including a 1 cent increase in the 32 cent first-class stamp, but publishers, direct marketers and major mailers are especially watching the recommendations for other mail classes. . . . Pharmacia & Upjohn to Klemtner, New York, for its forthcoming estimated $20 million direct-to-consumer campaign behind prescription bladder control drug, Detrol. . . . Ed Dittus is leaving his post as president of Media Marketing Assessment, Wilton, Conn., a division of Carat North America, New York, to start his own research venture. Mr. Dittus will become MMA chairman, a new post. Also, Stig B. Karlsen, president and chief operating officer of Carat North America, will become CEO of MMA., also a new post.

. . . Kellogg Co. launched what it's calling the most aggressive marketing campaign in its history for new Smart Start cereal. The ad theme, from J. Walter Thompson USA, New York, is "Seize the day.'

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