Camdens boxes and jabs carefully

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In the corporate world, Tiffany & Co.'s light blue box and delicate white ribbon have been the gold standard in gift-giving. But this holiday season, gift resource Camdens is hoping to promote what's inside the box. Camdens takes a shot at Tiffany in a new ad that reads, "even a blue box can't compensate for a business gift that's `old hat.' " However, Camdens only goes so far in its jab at the high-class retailer. While the Camdens ad features a Tiffany's look-alike box, it will only run in black & white executions. Camdens and the Vox agency in Fairfield County, Conn., may want the attention of Tiffany's customers, but they don't want to attract Tiffany's lawyers. Tiffany's blue box is actually trademarked.

Adclub is priggish in Portland

All was not rosy as the Portland Advertising Federation in Oregon prepared for last Friday's 42nd annual Rosey Awards. Local shop Elvis & Bonaparte was crying "cen-sorship" after the federation decided to yank a film the agency had produced as entertainment for the show. Innocuously titled "Reach & Frequency," the flick parodied a '70s-era porn trailer, with lines based on ad jargon. For example, the film is set at fictional agency Tucker Swallow & Rockhard. The federation huffed that the film might offend viewers. Elvis retorted its creation contained no frontal nudity or language not regularly heard on TV.

Midsize shops face Net loss

The expected dot-com shake-out this holiday season won't just hurt the agencies handling the accounts of the losers but, perhaps, those working for the winners as well. Veteran ad execs note the really successful e-commerce sites will need more resources than are available from some of the small to midsize shops launching the online brands. For example, last year's e-commerce success story, eToys, launched with Pacific Palisades, Calif., shop Kalis & Savage, then hiked over to San Francisco and Publicis & Hal Riney. "As the brands succeed-and get their first or second IPO-they will be looking for brand name agencies that validate their existence," says one veteran search consultant.

Lie-centious ad biz in Mexico

Mexican adman Santiago Pando is getting out of the biz, characterizing advertising in his country as "a fundamental part of the official lie." Pando is forsaking the allegedly lie-infested ad industry for another field-politics. The former director general of Lowe & Partners, Mexico City, left the agency to work full time for presidential hopeful Vicente Fox. Pando made his controversial statements in a letter published before he accepted Fox's offer to head his campaign's communi-cations. In the letter, titled "The Mirror of Advertising Also Has Two Faces," Pando also lamented that the ad industry in Mexico "doesn't have an opinion of its own regarding social, political or economic problems. . . . Advertising has, or should have, another face: that of the people." Pando said the ad industry has helped perpetuate Mexico's non-democratic system by never questioning the status quo. But next year, it may be back to the status quo for Pando. He has said he may return to Lowe post-election.

Got an Adage? Tell Dan by phone, (312) 280-3109; fax, (312) 649-5331; or e-mail, dlippe@crain.com.

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