P&G TO TEST ENDING COUPONS; DIET COKE READIES 2 NEW ADS;LEE BOOSTS '96 SPENDING BY 50% TO $30M-PLUS;IBM MOVES MCGUIRE, FREEMAN TO NEW POSTS;DISTILLER OF ABSOLUT IS READIED FOR SALE;MERCEDES NEARS DECISION ON SPORT-UTILITY AGENCY;TRAVEL HOLIDAY MAY BE NEARING THE END;CALVIN KLEIN MAY HAVE SIGNED HEATHERTON TO DEAL;SATURN PICKS RINEY FOR ELECTRIC CAR ACCOUNT;IDG WILL OFFER CREDITS TO ADVERTISERS;NBC SPORTS, NOVO JOIN FORCES FOR 2 PROJECTS;JEEP'S SNOW COVERED IS NAMED TOP AUTO AD;NEW NOVEL GETS 20-PAGE AD INSERT IN 'EW'

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[cincinnati] Procter & Gamble Co. will begin a test this February in upstate New York eliminating all couponing. The test follows a 50% decrease in national coupon spending by P&G since 1990 and could significantly alter marketing spending. Simultaneously, it is looking for more timely and accountable media research.

[atlanta] Coca-Cola Co. will incommercials Jan. 9 for Diet Coke, a brand whose sales have been flat in a flat segment of the cola market. Executives close to the company said the commericials from Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, are mood setters using the revived tagline "Just for thetaste of it."

[shawnee mission, kan.] VF Corp.'s Lee Apparel Co. will boost media spending 50% in 1996 to more than $30 million. The move is part of a new year-round ad strategy that eschews its usual mass-audience broadcast media vehicles, the Super Bowl (see related story on Page 1) and the Academy Awards, in favor of properties that more efficiently reach the 18-to-34-year-old female target. Buys will include the NCAA Women's Final Four basketball tournament on CBS, the 1996 Summer Olympics on NBC, and NBC's Thursday night line-up in the fall.

[armonk, n.y.] Maureen McGuire, director of product advertising and promotion at IBM Corp., moves up to VP-worldwide marketing communications, a new post under VP-Corporate Marketing Abby Kohnstamm (see related story on Page 4). Also, C. Ray Freeman, VP-communications for IBM's Europe/Middle East/Africa division in Paris, has shifted to the new post of VP-advertising and promotions for IBM's Software Group, Somers, N.Y.

[stockholm] The distiller of Absolut, the world's No. 2 vodka brand, is being prepared for sale. Vin & Sprit plans to convert its International Brands Division, which houses Absolut vodka, into a new limited company. According to Advertising Age's Daily World Wire, the company will be privatized and sold, with a possible price tag of $1.5 billion to $2 billion. TBWA, New York, has handled the award-winning Absolut advertising account for more than 14 years. Seagram Co. won a multiyear deal for distribution and marketing rights to Absolut vodka for the U.S. and a number of other countries Feb. 1, 1994.

[detroit] Mercedes-Benz of North America will decide by the end of the first quarter on an agency to handle the estimated $50 million introduction of its first sport-utility vehicle. Rapp Collins Worldwide, New York, is handling an advance direct-marketing effort. Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, handles Mercedes' passenger car account and is in the running for the new business.

[new york] Widespread industry speculation said Reader's Digest Association was close to pulling the plug on Travel Holiday, but company officials would neither confirm nor deny it. "Whether we are going to be buying something or selling something or relaunching something, we would not discuss it," said Greg Coleman, VP and general manager of U.S. publications for RDA and publisher of the U.S. edition of Reader's Digest.

[new york] Singer/actress Joey Heatherton is said to have signed on with Calvin Klein Cosmetics Co. for an undisclosed fragrance campaign. Company executives wouldn't comment.

[detroit] General Motors Corp.'s Saturn subsidiary has tapped its main agency, Hal Riney & Partners, San Francisco, to handle the introduction of the $35,000 two-seater EV1, a GM-badged electric vehicle that will be sold beginning this fall by Saturn dealers in Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.

[san francisco] International Data Group this month introduces its first corporate merchandising program, offering credits for advertisers' annual spending of 1% for those who spend $5 million to 3% for those who spend at least $15 million.

[new york] NBC Sports this week is expected to announce a deal with Novo Media Group, San Francisco, to create two CD-ROM/online products: a publication with the working title "NBC Sportszine" and an Olympic-theme product. Both wi

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