TRAVEL CHANNEL ADS TAKE OFF

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DDB Needham Worldwide's Communications Branding Group last week unveiled its first campaign-a six-spot, $3 million effort for the Travel Channel.

Themed "Don't be a tourist," commercials show travelers misinterpreting local customs in settings from Togo (tourists mistaking jockstraps for necklaces) to England (fearing bellhops will "knock them up"-which means to wake a guest by knocking on their door).

Travel Channel Senior VP-Marketing Tom Lucas said the spots aim to make the cable network a trusted source of information and to highlight global travel.

The drive broke on the Travel Channel last week and will run in spot markets this summer. Outdoor and radio advertising may follow.

DDB Needham formed the Communications Branding Group in March to work on print and electronic media and entertainment accounts. General Manager Paul Ahern, previously president of Ahern New York, heads the unit.

The group may also manage DDB Needham's interactive communications division, which handles business from clients like Cigna Corp.

At his old agency, Mr. Ahern's accounts included the Discovery Channel, whose parent Discovery Communications is negotiating to buy the Travel Channel. If that deal goes through, DDB Needham is likely to pursue the Discovery business, now at DeWitt Media.

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