MASON'S LIFE IN THE WATERY FAST LANE

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Bruce Mason is facing "Apocalypse Now." That's not a reference to aftershocks from past clashes between France's Publicis and Chicago-based True North Communications, from which he retired earlier this year as CEO. Instead, it's the name of Mason's 100+ mph STV drag boat. The 59-year-old former TN chief has been racing boats since he was 13, but recently slowed down long enough for a TV news crew to interview him about the local competitions. Last week, on his way to his regular Thursday night race, Mason told Adages: "I have a simple life plan where you carve up your life in 20-year segments. You hope you make it through 20. Twenty to 40, you're getting your feet on the ground in business. Forty to 60, you're making the most of opportunities in the business, and 60 to 80, you play."

Behind the scenes with CNET spot

It's CNET but see not for some folks viewing the first-ever TV campaign from the network of tech Web sites. The plot of one spot centers on what Adages will discreetly call a URL (unpleasant rectal labor)-a doctor's examination room and a rectal exam. Citron Haligman Bedecarre, San Francisco, created two versions of the humorous spot. In the tamer of the two, the patient sits with ankles crossed and toes curled; the other puts him in a rectal-linear position-lying on the table, face down-as the rubber-gloved medico approaches. Both spots are running simultaneously, CNET says, to create more buzz about the campaign. VP-Mktg. Annie Williams says so far the ads have confused audiences "in a good way."

To be ACURAte: We're not for sale

Gerry Rubin may be in the driver's seat with American Honda but asserts he still has no plans to park his shop with a new owner. The agency CEO denies, as he has in the past, that he's going to sell his Santa Monica shop, even though Rubin Postaer & Associates is on a new high after last week picking up $190 mil in Acura business to keep company with the $350 mil in Honda brand work it already had (see For the Record on Page 38). Says Rubin: "We have no desire, neither Larry [Postaer, principal and CD] nor I, to cash out. We do what's right for our clients, not what's right for us." And that apparently extends to compensation. Rubin Postaer cut it prices to win Acura, says Am. Honda Sr. Mgr.-Advertising Eric Conn. Were those price cuts aggressive? "I think it goes without saying," Conn responds, "when you consider the decision."

Big Blue OKs O&M tech trek

Ogilvy & Mather, whose IBM work has long been best of breed in tech advertising (see Page S-36 of Interactive 100 Special Report), is poised to take on more tech clients. For years, IBM was reluctant to let its O&M team work on other accounts. But with permission from Big Blue, O&M now is prospecting for additional work-largely to give younger staffers a chance to diversify portfolios and keep them from jumping to rival agencies. O&M struck out in a summer pitch at software seller SAP, but is talking with other prospective clients in the Internet realm.

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

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