Wieden denies reports of seeking Elian for ad

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Creatives at Wieden & Kennedy briefly considered Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy currently in the midst of an international custody fight, for an ad in the agency's campaign for search engine AltaVista, but no formal proposal was made to Elian's family, said executives at the Portland, Ore., agency. Other news reports today said Wieden had pitched Elian on an ad deal. "We did not make any formal proposal,'' said Chief Operating Officer Dave Luhr, and only in internal discussions considered using the youth. The agency called an attorney for the 6-year-old and left a message, but didn't return the attorney's call because it already had scrapped the idea, a Wieden spokeswoman said. David Emanuel, director of communications for AltaVista, acknowledged use of the Cuban child may have been considered in "an early conceptual idea.'' He said, however, "It's not part of our ad strategy, nor have we ever considered it.'' Armando Gutierrez, a spokesman for Elian's U.S. relatives, said the boy has received numerous offers, not just from marketers but from movie agents as well. "The family doesn't want to commercialize'' Elian, he said. AltaVista had used some famous faces, include Pamela Anderson, in recent advertising.

Copyright February 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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