WHAT'S IN STORE FOR JOHN & JANET

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Sears, a staple of American values, and USA Today, The Nation's Newspaper, just go together. And so do John Costello, Sears' sr. exec VP-marketing and vice chairman of the Association of National Advertisers, and Janet Smith, VP-adv. at USAT. John and Janet will marry this fall at an old manor house in Charlottesville, Va. A rather busy fall for John, since he's also got to run the ANA confab next month in Naples and sell billions and billions worth of stuff before Christmas. We assume bride and groom are doing the bridal registry at Sears.

Tastes grape,

less filling

E&J Gallo made its mark with hearty burgundy, but it's now trying a light motif. The newest Gallo wine coming out of the factories of Modesto will be a low-alcohol variety marketed with a "good taste" pitch. A West Coast agency's been given the assignment for the product, which may be an extension of Gallo's Ecco Domani brand. Currently, 500,000 to 1 million cases of light wine are sold a year, says SF wine consultants Gomberg-Frederikson. "The problem with light wines is they don't taste like wine," says partner Eileen Frederikson. If Gallo comes up with a decent-tasting low-buzz wine-or, heck, if Gallo aggressively markets any low-buzz wine-it could sell tankers of the stuff. Drinking light is in: Light beers last year accounted for five of the top 10 selling brew brands.

Are you ready?

Do you copy?

Front page of IBM's Oct. 1997 newspaper insert from O&M/NY launching its e-business manifesto: "Are you ready?" Theme of Cisco Corp.'s new global brand campaign from Goldberg Moser O'Neill/SF: "Are you ready?" Strictly coincidence, says Cisco corp. comm. mgr. Doug Wills. He notes the phrase over the years has turned up in promos ("Monday Night Football") and songs ("Are you ready? Yes I'm ready."). "I guess it's always been a popular phrase, used over time, that no one really owns," he says. Elsewhere: Micron's new PC brand ads from Austin shop Bam! feature a big red O, drawing attention to some detail in a photo. It reminded Adages a bit of Compaq's oversize Q from DDB Needham/NY. Retorts Bam! CD Mike Bevil: "I for one just don't see the connection." Nor does Compaq VP Andrew Salzman. "The Micron red circle is very different from what we are doing with our Q, in look and in strategy," he says. Well, we had to ask.

Levi's hip-hop .*. . gang's all here

Levi Strauss, mulling acquisitions to boost its base of brands and consumers, is scoping hip-hop brands. .*.*. Agency promo of the year: "We've moved to a neighborhood that works as late as we do," says Robaire & Hogshead, with accompanying map showing its Venice, Calif., digs conveniently located at the dividing line of the Crips and the Bloods. .*.*. Don't expect tennis ace Lindsay Davenport to be pitching soft drinks anytime soon. Davenport told the LA Times she cut out soda as part of her weight-loss regime. "I try not to drink sodas anymore," she says. "I don't drink diet or regular [soda]. . . . I think it's all just crap anyway."M

Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Alice Z. Cuneo, Jeff Jensen and Mark Rechtin.

Got an Adage? Tell Brad by phone, (323) 651-3710, ext. 111; fax, (323) 655-8157; or e-mail, brad@crain.com.

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