NORTHERN TELECOM MERGER LIKELY TO BENEFIT HHCC

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[toronto] Merging telecommunications equipment marketers Northern Telecom and Bay Networks are said to be likely to consolidate their advertising accounts at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, after the deal is complete. The agency currently handles Bay Networks' estimated $15 million to $20 million account. Bozell Worldwide, New York, handles Nortel, which spent $12 million on measured advertising last year. Neither Nortel nor Bay would comment; Hill Holliday officials said no final decision has been made. Separately, Hill Holliday withdrew from the review for the consolidation of Promus Hotel Corp.'s $40 million account, citing the need to concentrate on several new accounts.

NationsBank studies rivals for $90 mil acc't

[charlotte, n.c.] NationsBank Corp. will review credentials this month from six to 10 agencies for the $90 million consolidated account resulting from its merger with BankAmerica Corp. The list will be narrowed to four finalists and the review is expected to wrap up in October. Agencies were given the option to pitch the entire account, or consumer advertising or business-to-business only, and were told they would work with a corporate identity created by Anspach Grossman Enterprise. Agencies in the initial list are said to include NationsBank incumbent Temerlin McClain, Dallas; Leo Burnett USA, Chicago; and Bozell Worldwide and Lowe & Partners/SMS, both New York. BankAmerica incumbent Deutsch, New York and Santa Monica, Calif., referred calls to the client, which could not be reached for comment. Geduldig & Ferguson, New York, is handling the review.

Merck seeking shop for new-generation analgesic

[white house station, n.j.] With a big new wave of prescription pain relievers expected next year, Merck & Co. looking for an ad agency to handle its as-yet unapproved brand, Vioxx. The drugs, called COX-2 inhibitors, have no stomach side effects. Those vying for the estimated $40 million to $50 million brand are all non-roster agencies: DDB Needham Worldwide, Grey Advertising, Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG and Warwick Baker O'Neill, all New York.

`The Source' readies music, fashion tours

[new york] The Source is kicking off two tours this September. "Fashion Nation Back to School College Tour," sponsored by Pepsi-Cola Co.'s Mountain Dew, Reebok and Lee Jeans (one of several fashion advertisers), will visit five college campuses. "The Unsigned Hype Live Tour" will be sponsored by Coca-Cola Co.'s Sprite, with participation from Def Jam Music. The "Unsigned Hype" tour is a talent search based on a popular Source column on undiscovered artists, and will visit 10 cities.

A-B subs Bud Light for Bud Ice in NHL promo

[st. louis] Anheuser-Busch has renegotiated its ongoing marketing alliance with the National Hockey League to replace Bud Ice with Bud Light as the lead brand on the sponsorship. A-B intends to ramp up its NHL-theme marketing with Bud Light, its fastest-growing brand. Bud Light also will sponsor the NHL's all-star game MVP award.

Nickelodeon teams with Kraft online

[new york] Nickelodeon and Nickelodeon Online (www.nick.com) today debut the Nickel-O-Zone TV programming -- three new shows with "The Wild Thornberrys," "Cousin Skeeter" and "Animorphs" -- and online content. The new online area will be sponsored by Kraft in an undisclosed buy that includes Kraft brand logos for Kool-Aid, Polly-O String Cheese and Lunchables across the Nickel-O-Zone and links to the Kraft sites. The Kraft sponsorship runs through Sept. 14.

Omnicom sees 29.5% rise in net income for quarter

[new york] Omnicom Group posted a 29.5% increase in net income in the second quarter, to $86 million from $66.4 million during the same quarter in 1997. Revenues rose 33.5% to $1.05 billion. Net income rose 28.5% for the first half, to $136.9 million, with revenue up 29% to $1.91 billion.

Hill Holliday set to win Riggs, Dun & Bradstreet

[washington, d.c.] Hill Holliday/Altschiller is in negotiations for two estimated $5 million to $7 million accounts, for Dun & Bradstreet and Riggs Bank, according to executives close to the situations. Grey Direct, New York, had handled some direct marketing duties for Dun & Bradstreet. Riggs Bank had previously used various shops on a project basis. A Riggs spokeswoman confirmed the bank is reviewing its advertising, but declined to elaborate.

Dow ends week with 34.5-point drop

[new york] After a 200-point drop early in the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 34.5 points Aug. 14 at 8,425, below the 8,598 close on Aug. 7. Ad agency stocks closed generally lower; CKS Group had the largest drop, closing at $15, down $2.13, followed by Leap Group, down 32 cents to $3.875. Snyder Communications rose $1.50 to close at $43.625, True North Communications closed up 93 cents at $28.187, Interpublic Group of Cos. was up 37 cents to $59 and WPP Group was up 50 cents to $65.25.

F.Y.I.

Prime Retail to Elkman/Alexander & Partners, Philadelphia, as first agency of record for the outlet center company after its merger with Horizon Group. Billings are estimated at $10 million. . . . W. David Vining to director of advertising and direct marketing, North America, Compaq Computer Corp., Houston, from director of customized marketing. Mr. Vining keeps his former responsibilities and adds those formerly handled by the director of advertising, Kathleen Harrington, who left. . . . Progress Software Corp. is talking with agencies about its estimated $5 million account. Progress has worked with Cohn Godley Norwood, Boston. . . . Reader's Digest and Creative Artists Agency have reached an agreement to work on developing TV products based on the title's stories and articles. . . . Kimberly Annick to partner-account director at Intuition Group, New York, from account supervisor at Gotham. . . . Vibe launches its hip-hop spinoff title, Blaze, on Aug. 25 with 120 pages of advertising. . . . Sony Corp. of America to Saatchi & Saatchi, San Francisco, for the $1 million account for its Metreon entertainment center opening in San Francisco in spring 1999. . . . Intuit today starts a $500,000 newspaper campaign for personal finance site Quicken.com (www.quicken.com), via Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco.

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