MICROSOFT CHANGES SUGGEST POSSIBLE SHIFT IN AD FOCUS

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As part of Microsoft Corp.'s long-awaited reorganization, the marketer aligned products by "customer type," creating five divisions. Microsoft will put more emphasis in the product groups on "customer-focused" advertising, said President Steve Ballmer, suggesting a shift away from product ads and toward ads promoting solutions. He said the changes won't affect the marketer's ongoing corporate brand advertising. Anderson & Lembke, San Francisco, and Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., split the account. Chairman Bill Gates said consumers are unlikely to see major short-term changes in the long-term reorganization.

Coke launches Dasani

water into test

Coca-Cola Co. is giving away free massages to launch Dasani, its first major entry into the $4 billion U.S. bottled water business, in southeastern states. The product hit stores last week. Marketing support, targeted to women ages 25 to 39, includes outdoor and newspaper ads and couponing. Berlin Cameron & Partners, New York, handles.

Intel consolidates

business at Messner

Intel Corp. moved its estimated $25 million business-to-business ad account to Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/ Euro RSCG, New York, from Euro RSCG DSW Partners, Salt Lake City and San Francisco. The chip marketer moved its $300 million consumer account to Messner from DSW last year and now shifts creative and media work in computer publications. Messner will handle all global creative and print media buying; Havas' SFM Media, New York, handles broadcast buying. DSW will remain an Intel Web shop, along with Messner and Modem Media-Poppe Tyson, San Francisco.

P&G's Cover Girl brand

tunes up fall promo

Procter & Gamble Co. will launch a music-inspired promotion called Rhythm & Blues for its back-to-school Cover Girl collection. Cover Girl will give away CDs featuring spokeswoman and singer Brandy and other musicians with a $10 purchase. The promotion will be part of a larger campaign breaking in August from Grey Advertising, New York, that will include print in teen magazines and in-store displays.

Gardenburger resumes

ad campaign with new $$

Gardenburger said it signed a commitment to raise $35.5 million in a convertible stock financing to fund a national advertising effort breaking April 12. Spending for the planned national TV campaign will be $15 million. The new advertising initiative follows Gardenburger's decision last year to spend aggressively on a major advertising effort-including a $2 million spot on the "Seinfeld" finale-that was funded by $15 million in subordinated debt. The marketer claims the 1998 campaign drew 5.5 million new consumers to the alternative meat category and hiked its sales from $18 million to $55 million. Rubin Postaer & Associates, Chicago, handles.

Braun powers up

toothbrush promotion

Gillette Co. will launch a marketing campaign this month to promote its Braun Oral-B Plaque Remover, its largest non-holiday effort for the line of powered toothbrushes. The campaign from Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, will include print and TV spots breaking April 18 and in-store displays promoting discounts on the entire Plaque Remover line. The promotion also includes a PR campaign.With about $3 million earmarked for TV advertising, the campaign marks the first time the line has received so much support, said Doug Koval, product manager for power-assisted toothbrushes at Braun.

TBWA wins campaign

for Dr. Martens

AirWair Worldwide assigned its first international campaign for cult youth boot and shoe brand Dr. Martens to British agency TBWA GGT Simons Palmer, London. TBWA beat out Euro RSCG, London, and other contenders for the $10 million business that celebrates Dr. Martens' 40th anniversary. The campaign will run across the brand's core markets of the Benelux countries, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K. and the U.S. Advertising previously had been handled by local agencies.

Lowe buys stake

in Zipatoni Co.

Lowe Group has taken a substantial minority share in marketing services agency Zipatoni Co., St. Louis. The company, known for its strategic and creative work, will operate as a stand-alone agency under the same name and management team. Zipatoni's clients include Miller Brewing Co., Coca-Cola Co., Energizer Co. and Bacardi-Martini.

Candie's names shop

for jeans account

Candie's named DiMassimo Brand Advertising, New York, as agency for its Bongo brand, succeeding InMarketing, Glen Cove, N.Y. DiMassimo will develop the jeans line's fall campaign, to break in August. Spending is estimated at $2 million to $5 million.

Clutter increases

on broadcast TV nets

During prime time in the fourth quarter of 1998, NBC averaged 141/2 minutes of non-program time, according to the latest Alliance Clutter Report, a joint study by WPP Group sibling shops J. Walter Thompson USA and Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. In all, the broadcast networks increased their prime-time non-program time 5% over the previous quarter to an average of 14 minutes per hour. ABC averaged the most prime-time network commercials during the quarter, with 10 minutes each hour. The networks averaged 91/2 minutes of national ads per hour, up 7% over the previous quarter.

Radio ad sales

up 18% in February

Radio Advertising Bureau announced March 30 that combined local and national advertising sales for February were up 18% from a year ago. RAB said combined

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