Procter & Gamble Co. plans to break spots for its Olean brand olestra fat substitute Feb. 21 during the Winter Olympics. The ads are in anticipation of a nationwide rollout of Olean-based Fat-Free Pringles (AA, Feb. 2). Grey Advertising, New York, handles. P&G will expand distribution of Fat-Free Pringles with Olean from their Columbus, Ohio, test market to other markets in Ohio by early March with a full national rollout in the summer.
New initiatives at Jack in the Box
Foodmaker's Jack in the Box is adding new menu boards that prominently display value meals, converting to self-service beverages and launching a test next month in Bakersfield, Calif., of made-to-order burgers. New creative from Kowloon Wholesale Seafood Co., Santa Monica, Calif., supports. Separately, Coca-Cola Co. signed a multiyear deal to be exclusive soft-drink supplier to Jack in the Box.
McDonald's buys into Mexican Grill chain
In an unusual move, McDonald's Corp., which has been pushing to improve food offerings, has purchased a minority stake in World Foods, a chain of 14 Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants. The goal is to provide McDonald's with another franchising vehicle, franchisees were told. The current McDonald's franchise agreement doesn't allow operators to own other businesses. The company said it will take about two years to evaluate how the concept will fit. The deal will provide information about new menu concepts, franchisees were told in a voice-mail message last week.
Fourth-quarter earnings at Grey up
Grey Advertising, New York, reported a fourth quarter 1997 net income increase of 18% to $12.4 million compared with the same period in 1996. The agency also reported gross billings of $1.8 billion for the fourth quarter of 1997, up 17% from fourth quarter 1996 billings of $1.5 billion. For the year, net income was $30.45 million, up 6.5% from 1996. Grey noted 1996 results were affected favorably by non-recurring, non-operating pre-tax income of almost $4 million related to gains on the sale of an equity position of a subsidiary and the liquidation of a non-marketable investment security. The net income for 1997 was up 15% absent such gains.
AT&T, Gartner top Mobius Awards
Gartner, a West Hollywood, Calif.-based production company, won the Mobius Awards' Best of Show broadcasting award for the production of "Amazing Grace," a TV spot for AT&T Consumer Communications through Y&R Advertising, New York. DDB Needham Worldwide, Los Angeles, won best radio award for its "Shoe Repair" commercial for Wells Fargo Bank. Best print went to Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, for its "Greatest Places" ad for Science Museum of Minnesota.
Mountain Dew leads soft-drink gainers
Coca-Cola Co. saw overall volume grow 5.1% last year while archrival Pepsi-Cola Co.'s volume rose by 3%, according to 1997 industry figures released by Beverage Digest/Maxwell Report. The report pegs overall industry growth at 3.2%. Pepsi-Cola Co.'s Mountain Dew was the top-growing carbonated soft-drink brand last year, gaining 13% over 1996 volume, followed by Coca-Cola Co.'s Sprite, which was up 10.4%. Coke Classic remained the top-selling brand, with a 2.5% increase in volume, followed by brand Pepsi, up 0.5% over a year ago. Diet Coke remained No. 3, with 0.9% volume growth. Mountain Dew supplanted Sprite as the nation's fourth-best-selling soft drink.
DreamWorks taunts Sony film
A game of marketing one-upsmanship is on the verge of breaking out between two heavily hyped summer films: Sony Corp.'s "Godzilla" and DreamWorks SKG's "Small Soldiers." Last summer, Sony broke a much-talked-about trailer that had Godzilla stomping on the museum-housed skeleton of a dinosaur -- a poke at Steven Spielberg and his "Jurassic Park" franchise. Now Mr. Spielberg's DreamWorks has returned the jab with a new trailer for this summer's "Small Soldiers." The creative has Godzilla smashing the dinosaur skeleton, but then getting attacked by the small toy commandos of "Small Soldiers." The tagline: "Size doesn't matter." DreamWorks hasn't decided when or if the trailer will hit screens. Toy executives close to Sony say that studio has seen the trailer and isn't amused.
Coca-Cola unveils Nascar `family'
Coca-Cola Co. unveiled the Coca-Cola Racing Family, a group of 10 top Nascar drivers and family members that it said will be the "cornerstone" of its Nascar involvement in 1998 and beyond. Coca-Cola Classic this year became the official soft drink of Nascar racing, supplanting previous sponsor Pepsi-Cola Co. D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, St. Louis, handles.