ATLANTA-Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games sent letters to some 900 advertising, public relations and marketing communications executives May 26 urging them to refrain from ambush marketing against 1996 Summer Olympic sponsors. ACOG implied lawsuits would be used against any non-sponsor who engages in what it described as "parasite marketing." "Campaigns that ambush .... discredit the corporations that fund them and the agencies that create them while placing both in jeopardy of litigation," wrote Billy Payne, ACOG president-CEO.
OAK BROOK, Ill..-McDonald's Corp. will open nearly twice as many satellite units as it will conventional restaurants in the U.S. this year, executives said at the marketer's annual meeting last week. Getting closer to the customer through satellite units-now located in airports, gas stations and 400 U.S. Wal-Mart Stores locations-is of prime importance, since 75% of all decisions to eat at McDonald's are made within 5 minutes of the actual visit, executives said. Satellites aren't yet contributing to McDonald's bottom line, however, because of the high development costs involved. McDonald's this year will open 400 to 500 full-size restaurants in the U.S. and 800 to 1,000 abroad. Most of its 1,000 new satellites will be built in the U.S.
REDWOOD SHORES, Calif.-Oracle Corp. chose Ketchum Advertising, Los Angeles, for its estimated $10 million account, previously handled by Woolward & Partners, San Francisco. The review had included McCann-Erickson Worldwide, San Francisco.
CARSON, Calif.-Nissan Motor Corp. USA this week begins airing a knockoff of a well-remembered commercial knockoff. The new network TV spot shows how an Altima is still able to balance wine glasses on its hood even after it has 117,582 miles on the odometer. It's a sequel to the '92 introductory Altima spot that itself played off of a commercial for an expensive Lexus. Chiat/Day, Venice, created the Altima ads; Team One, El Segundo, did the Lexus original.
NEW YORK-Only seven of the 26 new series scheduled by the Big 3 networks for the 1995-96 prime-time season received passing grades, according to an Advertising Age composite of preliminary agency share estimates. Assuming a passing grade is something greater than the 18-plus share average for the 1994-95 prime-time season, ABC's "Hudson Street" (22 share) and "Wilde Again" (23); CBS' "Almost Perfect" (19) and "Can't Hurry Love" (19); and NBC's "Pursuit of Happiness" (19), "The Single Guy" (23) and "Caroline in the City" (25) all will perform better than the prime-time average this season. Four borderline shows with projected 18 shares are ABC's "Murder One" and CBS' "Bless This House," "The Client" and "If Not For You." Among the new prime-time series on Fox, only "The Preston Episodes" and "Too Something," with a 12 share each, are considered as deserving passing grades, with most others borderline.
NEW YORK-The feud between high tech publishers CMP Publications and Ziff-Davis Publishing remains at full boil. On May 25, New York state Supreme Court Judge Ira Gasserman refused to grant a temporary restraining order sought by Ziff that would have blocked Beth Haggerty from returning to CMP as publisher of Net Guide, a rival to Ziff's newly launched ZD Internet Life. Ms. Haggerty left CMP a year ago to become publisher of Ziff's Interactive Week. The judge did issue a temporary restraining order barring Ms. Haggerty from disclosing to CMP any info about the ZD Internet Life launch. On May 26, Ziff raided CMP to sign CommunicationsWeek Editor in Chief Jake Kirchner to be editor of the Ziff flagship PC Magazine.
MEMPHIS-Promus Cos. took a major step toward splitting into two companies when shareholders overwhelmingly approved the move at the company's annual meeting May 26. Promus will become Harrah's Entertainment Co. and operate Harrah's casinos. A new company, Promus Hotels Corp., will operate Hampton Inn, Embassy Suites and Homewood Suites. Shareholders will receive one share of the new hotel company for each two shares of Promus they own.
CHICAGO-Soft Sheen Products, the nation's largest African-American-owned haircare company, has hired investment banker CS First Boston to explore a possible sale of the company, Crain's Chicago Business reported. Those familiar with the arrangement say the $97.2 million company is examining other financial alternatives, but an outright sale is seen as the most likely outcome for the family-owned company. Possible suitors include Alberto-Culver Co. and Revlon.
BOSTON-Insiders at Cahners Publishing Co. said Michael Wisner, senior VP-publishing director of the computer/electronics group, is out as of May 31. The move has sparked renewed speculation that parent company Reed Elsevier might be getting ready to spin off all or parts of Cahners. A Cahners spokesman offered "no comment" on Mr. Wisner's status and denied any part of the company is in play.
DETROIT-The Jeep/Eagle Dealer Council will try to persuade Chrysler Corp. Chairman Robert Eaton in a June 6 meeting here not to OK a new sport-utility for sister Dodge division, Automotive News reports. Chrysler officials haven't announced the Dodge sport-utility, but suppliers and dealers say the vehicle will be built off the Dodge Dakota pickup, and that Chrysler would like to bring it out as a 19971/2 model. The dealers say Dodge is Chrysler's strongest franchise, and the other franchises need new product, especially in the thriving light-truck market.
LOS ANGELES-The networks' fall schedules are now set, with Fox adding eight new shows and establishing Monday, Thursday and weekend comedy slates. One of Fox's bolder moves, according to Electronic Media, involves transferring "Martin" from the Thursday to Saturday anchor in an attempt to launch the new David Alan Grier comedy, "The Preston Episodes," on that night. The WB Television Network said it would add a second night of programming, Sunday, and a Saturday morning block for kids. CBS also announced its lineup last week (see story on Page 1); NBC, ABC and UPN unveiled their plans earlier in the month.
SEATTLE-Starbucks Coffee Co. confirmed it has narrowed the review for its $7 million account to four agencies. Names of finalists were unavailable, but possible contenders include: Hal Riney & Partners and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco; and Ketchum Advertising and BBDO Worldwide, Los Angeles. EvansGroup had handled.
FORT WORTH, Texas-In its largest product launch ever, Mrs. Baird's Bakeries has formed an alliance with Bimar Foods, Dallas, to market Mrs. Baird's Texas Tortillas in the Lone Star State and Louisiana. TV, radio and outdoor ads from Tracy-Locke, Dallas, will break May 31.