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NEWSPAPER AD REVENUE NEAR $10 BIL IN 1ST QUARTER

Newspaper advertising revenues hit $9.7 billion for the first three months of this year, a 7.3% increase over the same period in 1997, according to Newspaper Association of America. The increase was attributed to consumer spending and new jobs. A boost in help-wanted ads, due to low unemployment rates, helped drive classified advertising revenues up 9.8%. Local retail ad revenues rose by 4.4%, and national ad revenue jumped 9.8%.

Andersen Consulting bidding for new image

Andersen Consulting will break a new campaign in September to back its new corporate image, designed to differentiate it from Arthur Andersen. Andersen Consulting plans to spend $100 million in 1999 via agency Y&R Advertising, New York, supporting the new identity, created by Young & Rubicam unit Landor Associates, San Francisco. The new effort includes a new logo and musical signature in advertising, a rebuilt Web site and sponsorship of the new PGA Tour World Golf Championship in 1999.

Nabisco restructures to regain marketing edge

Nabisco Holdings Corp. announced a sweeping restructuring anticipated to yield $100 million a year in annual savings. That money will fund a 30%-plus increase in advertising and consumer promotion spending for cookies and crackers in the second half. Nabisco said the plan, which involves a restructuring charge of $406 million and related expenses of $118 million, will "significantly reduce" anticipated 1998 earnings. "While we have made good progress on several fronts, our volume, sales and earnings for the first half are stalled," said President-CEO James Kilts. "These ongoing performance issues made it clear the time for action is now." Among the immediate priorities are new advertising campaigns for Ritz, Air Crisps and SnackWell's, and larger ad commitments for Oreo, Chips Ahoy! and Triscuit. The company said it would introduce in the second half "a number of new seasonal items." McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, handles crackers; Foote, Cone & Belding, New York, has cookies. The company also plans to "discontinue certain product lines," which weren't identified. Nabisco is said to be shopping around some non-core businesses, including hot cereals, A1 steak sauce, Grey Poupon mustard and Parkay and Fleischmann's margarines. On the sales side, the restructuring plan calls for "restoring the effectiveness" of Nabisco's store-door delivery service, which has struggled since a 1997 revamp.

Proffitt's consolidates accounts at Ron Foth

Proffitt's has consolidated $35 million in advertising with Ron Foth Advertising, Columbus, Ohio. Proffitt's moved the $12 million account of its recently acquired Carson Pirie Scott division to Ron Foth from Laughlin Constable, Milwaukee, without a review. Ron Foth already handled Proffitt's other divisions, including Boston Stores and Bergner's.

New Levi's outdoor blitz in New York

Levi Strauss & Co. has begun wild postings in Manhattan of the latest round in its outdoor campaign for stiff jeans. The postings have copy such as "Stiffer than aluminum siding, but not nearly as comfortable," and "You think you're so tough, try wearing these without underpants." TV spots are expected to follow this week (AA, May 25). TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif., is the agency.

Double-Cola plots brand relaunch

Double-Cola Co. USA, the eighth-largest U.S. soft-drink marketer, named T.G. Madison, Atlanta, as agency for what it called a "multimillion-dollar" new assignment. The company plans a March relaunch of Double-Cola and Ski brand soft drinks with new packaging and ads.

Avent agrees to modify infant-bottle claim

Baby-bottle marketer Avent America agreed to qualify ads that claim its bottles are the only ones "medically proven to reduce colic in newborns," National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus said. New ad copy will indicate the study it relied on demonstrated only that at 2 weeks of age babies fed with Avent bottles showed a trend to less colic. Quebecor Creative Services, Schaumburg, Ill., handles Avent. The ads were challenged by rival Evenflo Co.

Guinness and Bass extend U.S. pact

Diageo unit Guinness Import Co. signed a new pact that extends its role as exclusive U.S. importer for Bass Beers Worldwide brands. Guinness said the agreement calls for increased spending to support flagship Bass ale and to introduce other Bass brands into the U.S., including Caffrey's Irish ale. Guinness Import also said it will change its name to Guinness Bass Import Co. to reflect the new long-term relationship with Bass Beers. Guinness Bass will remain fully owned by Guinness.

CBS links fall launch to American Air, Target

CBS said American Airlines and Target Stores will be its marketing partners for its fall season launch. Target will distribute free "CBS Sneak Peek" videos; American will show in-flight clips of new CBS shows as well as give away 1 million frequent-flier miles in a watch-and-win promo. Separately, CBS will market its new National Football League package with promos tagged "The NFL on CBS . . . The way it should be!" CBS agencies are Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, and Air Creative Group, Los Angeles.

NBC adds a stake in CNET site

NBC agreed to take an equity stake in Snap! (www.snap.com), the "portal" starting page site from CNET. NBC and CNET will run the site as a joint venture, with some NBC employees expected to join the Snap! staff. NBC will acquire a minority stake in Snap! with the option to increase its ownership to 60%. In addition, NBC will purchase a 5% equity stake in CNET. Industry analysts predict more media companies will strike deals with major search engines and portal sites in the coming months.

Del Taco's line targets Taco Bell's Gorditas

Del Taco, a regional rival to fast-food giant Taco Bell, has rolled out Big Fat Tacos, a new line in its 300 restaurants, to compete with Taco Bell's new Gorditas. The introduction is supported with new TV spots from Italia/Gal, Los Angeles, that broke last week. Spending was not disclosed.

Americatel takes dial-around to Florida

Americatel Corp. is expanding its 10-123 dial-around phone service into south Florida, after launches in Chicago, Albuquerque and Phoenix several weeks ago. The Miami-based company is targeting the Hispanic market and will introduce the service in other Hispanic markets across the country by yearend.

Brill Media names Brown publisher

Brill Media Ventures named Deanna Brown publisher of Brill's Content, which makes its debut on newsstands June 17. Ms. Brown, currently associate publisher for the magazine, succeeds Steven Brill, who remains editor in chief and chairman of Brill Media Ventures. The magazine's first issue will carry 44 ad pages, exceeding its ad page goal by 22%, said Mr. Brill. Initial circulation will be about 225,000.

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