We all live in a Red submarine

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Attention, Subway, Blimpie and other capitalist piggies: A promotional tie-in op like this doesn't come along every Red October. A Finnish company is trying to sell a Cold War-era Russian submarine currently docked in St. Petersburg (the St. Pete's in Florida, not Russia). Oy-Sub Expo owns sub U-484 and initially operated it as a tourist attraction in Helsinki; a Canadian company in 1997 leased the boat, towed it to the U.S. but later went bankrupt. SubExpo Ltd., a unit of the Finnish company, is now looking for a buyer via its own Web site (subexpo.com) and eBay. SubExpo prez Alexander Sheftman says his company is willing to sell to a museum or just about any other company "as long as they will not arm" the former Soviet warship. He notes that "already two parties are potentially interested in considering the sub as a unique promotional/ advertising item . . . [and] there has been some interest for a well-established Internet company." SubExpo would like to get $1 million for the boat. When it was on exhibit in Finland, the 300-foot diesel-power sub even had an onboard restaurant that sat 40. Rather than scarfing herring in Helsinki, Adages suggests, U-484 visitors could just as well be swallowing submarine sandwiches in the States.

CME's tradition of smoke signals

Minneapolis' Campbell Mithun Esty, which last week won Minnesota's $7.5 million kids anti-smoking acc't (paid for with money from a suit against cigarette makers), is no stranger to tobacco danger. Predecessor shop Wm. Esty Co. in NY in 1954 coined the killer slogan, "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should." And till it lost the biz in 1994, CME's NY office created Kool ads for Brown & Williamson. The Minneapolis office, however, has been kicking butt for years. It handled Minnesota's anti-smoking acc't in the '80s before withdrawing from an '88 review to avoid a conflict with the B&W biz.

GMO could end up taking Lowe road

Speculation is more plentiful than the dust at Goldberg Moser O'Neill's new San Francisco office building that the Lowe-owned shop will be combined with Lowe Lintas & Partners' SF office. Also, GMO is working to get another car acc't since losing Kia, and the hunch in ad circles is that parent Interpublic might come through with a GM assignment.

Perturbed in Peru over TV

The American Family Ass'n may think it has headaches with such TV fare as a spot featuring finger-flipping yo-yo-playing kids (Adages, Dec. 13), but Donald Wildmon should feel lucky he's not in Peru. Talk shows there are under attack from critics including the nation's National Association of Advertisers, with the latest uproar involving a series of shows on "Laura in America." One of the shows, called "Anything for Money," featured Peruvians carrying out various acts to earn a few bucks -- including an elderly woman licking a young man's underarm for $20. Feeling the heat is the Peruvian gov't, the nation's top-spending advertiser. The network that airs "Laura in America" gets more than one-third of the government's TV ad budget. Gov't spokesman Ricardo Marcenaro contends the government would violate freedom of the press if it restricted its ad spending.

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

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