PFIZER PRESCRIBES DEUTSCH FOR ZYRTEC

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Pfizer awarded Deutsch, New York, its estimated $75 million account for anti-allergy drug Zyrtec. HMC previously handled. Also competing for the work were McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Merkley Newman Harty and Ogilvy & Mather.

DeWitt Media cashes in

on $30 mil N.Y. Life acc't

New York Life chose DeWitt Media, New York, as media buying and planning agency for its $30 million account. TBWA/Chiat/Day had been New York Life's media and creative agency of record for 12 years. Last month, the insurance company moved creative to Berlin, Cameron & Partners.

Campbell-Ewald gets

Conoco brand ads

Conoco selected Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., as first agency for its branding assignment. Conoco had said it would spend an estimated $15 million from October through the end of the year. The gas-station chain was spun off last fall from Du Pont Co.

Grey's J. Brown is online

for CitySearch ad work

Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch's CitySearch chose Grey Advertising's J. Brown/LMC Group, San Francisco, for its $5 million to $10 million account, said executives familiar with the decision. J. Brown will be charged with turning CitySearch into a national brand. Ground Zero, Marina del Rey, Calif., previously handled.

True North profits climb

18.6% in 2nd quarter

True North Communications, Chicago, reported net income hit $21 million in the second quarter, up 18.6% from a year ago. Revenue rose 11% to $355.7 million. Net new business in the quarter for True North-which includes Foote, Cone & Belding and Bozell Worldwide-was about $170 million in equivalent annualized billings, more than double the first quarter's $80 million. First-half results: net income up 32.4% to $28.2 million, revenue up 9% to $659.1 million.

FCC eases rules for

broadcast ownership

The Federal Communications Commission on Aug. 5 took a major step toward increasing media concentration by approving rules allowing broadcasters to own more than one TV station in a market. The change could give broadcasters increased clout in negotiating with advertisers, but the American Association of Advertising Agencies said limits the FCC established would provide a "reasonable compromise." The FCC, also allowing combined radio and TV station ownership within a single market, restricted new combinations to large markets with numerous stations. The commission, however, let continue current arrangements in smaller markets that violate the new guidelines.

BellSouth launches

$20 mil Solutions push

BellSouth Corp. on Aug. 3 launched a $20 million multimedia campaign in nine Southeastern states to introduce BellSouth Solutions. The new product offers an integrated package of services on one bill with one number to call for service. Merkley Newman Harty, New York, is the lead creative agency. Western Initiative Media Worldwide, Atlanta, handles media buying.

Grey, FCB boost clout

in Japan, youth market

Grey Advertising and Foote, Cone & Belding, both New York, were busy acquiring more agency muscle last week. Grey acquired full ownership of Grey Daiko, Tokyo, its joint venture with Daiko Advertising. Grey said Grey Daiko, with 1998 billings of $134 million, becomes one of the largest Western-owned ad agencies in Japan. Back in the U.S., FCB acquired youth-oriented McElroy Communications, Newport Beach, Calif. It will be renamed McElroy FCB.

Costello exits AutoNation

over divesting rental unit

Less than a year after being hired away from Sears, Roebuck & Co.'s top marketing post, AutoNation President John Costello resigned "to pursue Internet business ventures," a company statement said. Michael Maroone, formerly president of AutoNation's Automotive Retail Group, succeeds Mr. Costello. Mr. Costello said he decided to step down after AutoNation board action to divest itself of its auto-rental division. He joined the company Jan. 1 with the goal of building AutoNation as a brand standing for a broad array of automotive services.

Y&R takes ex-client

Blockbuster to court

Young & Rubicam, New York, is suing former client Blockbuster Video in U.S. District Court for $2.9 million for what the agency claims are unpaid bills. Y&R says the home video chain withheld payment after an outside reviewer criticized the agency's work. In the suit, Y&R contends Blockbuster said it didn't pay because Y&R owed it money for not following media guidelines. The agency also is

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