The medium is the moo-sage

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A new, ad industry-related Web site beefed up its image recently by painting its URL on a cow in Santa Fe, N.M. But unlike Chicago and other cities rustling up sponsored, fiberglass cows, the version was the real, rawhide thing, grazing in a field along a highway. In a happy surprise, the Hereford may now be pregnant, but Web site creators Scott Karlson and Shelley Delayne have already scrubbed off the ad message, so the cow won't end up a working mom. Why the site's bovine moniker? "We were talking about an advertising resource site, and I was relating a story about seeing cows in a field in Illinois," explains Karlson, "and Shelley said that would be a great name for the site." Adages suspects the "cowboard" medium might have legs for other advertisers too, with taglines such as "Got milk!" (with a straightening of the traditional "?") or "Beef. I'm what's for dinner."

NASA fiasco mars Olds' plans

Count Oldsmobile among those whose plans were bollixed up by the MIA Mars Polar Lander. The GM division was to sponsor live sights and sounds from Mars broadcast on and "We are committed to the program," maintains Cynthia Babcock, marketing comm. mgr. at Olds. The sites instead are showing "just basic stuff" she says, like interviews of astronauts. Olds is still giving away trips via separate sweepstakes on the two sites.

WWF is duckin' Duncan yo-yo ad

Duncan Toys has the distinction of owning a commercial that's too much for even the World Wrestling Federation. The WWF, itself under fire for tasteless content in its programming (AA, Dec. 6), rejected the yo-yo spot, which features kids brandishing a certain finger -- one that happens to be used both for operating a yo-yo and making a well-known profane gesture. A gesture not unknown to pop up in WWF matches. The spot from GFS/Levinson Group, NY, already had run late night on MTV and E! Entertainment's "Howard Stern Show." But Turner's WWF rival, World Championship Wrestling, also has rejected the ad, and Donald Wildmon's American Family Association is nagging TV outlets to refuse the ad. At the WWF, "It didn't meet our standards or of our partners at UPN or USA Network," says Jim Rothschild, sr. VP-advertising. GFS Partner Ernest Fossa says the WWF rebuffed Duncan even after the spot was re-edited several times. "This is a controversial spot," Fossa admits. "But how you do break through the clutter? Kids don't pay attention to anything."

Keeping Levi's from slipping off?

"A jump ball." That's how insiders describe the status of Levi Strauss & Co.'s accounts for its core jeans products, now at TBWA/Chiat/Day, and its Dockers and Slates brands at FCB Worldwide. Amid the turmoil resulting from Levi's recent management shifts, new CEO Phil Marineau has been meeting with execs from both San Francisco shops. T/C/D is pitching itself as a reborn agency under new SF creative director Chuck McBride. FCB has sold some work. And officially, Levi Strauss says it's happy. Still, locals wonder whether the financially troubled company will stick with its current lineup. Will BBDO, Goodby or others have a shot? One Levi's watcher notes the company's marketing team represents both a "clean slate" and "quite a mess."

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

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