HOW REBATES SAVED CADILLAC

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Lincoln bested Cadillac as the No. 1-selling luxury marque in model year 1998, but Cadillac managed to hold on to No. 1 for the calendar year by a nose (or hood ornament). For the year, sales of Ford's luxury plate jumped 12% to 187,121. Cadillac ended the year at 187,343, up 2.6% -- closing a big gap with Lincoln by piling on $3,000 rebates and other incentives last month. Ford used similar rebate tactics to keep Taurus as the No. 1-selling car a few years ago. But Ian Beavis, mktg. commun. mgr. at Lincoln Mercury, says his division made the strategic decision not to play the incentives game last month. Lincoln's strong sales gains came mainly from Navigator, its killer whale of a sport-utility. Get set for a '99 domestic luxo battle: Cadillac, with the hulking new Escalade SUV, vs. Lincoln, which this spring will get incremental sales from the LS sports sedan, the littlest Lincoln since Ford slapped a new grill and trunk lid on a mid-'70s Granada and called it the Lincoln Versailles.

Will Scott marshal Publicis?

Maurice Levy is eyeing Publicis & Hal Riney's Scott Marshall to be point man for the French chief's growing U.S. agency network, according to close agency watchers. Levy says he hasn't decided on a broader formal role for the SF agency or Marshall (and it's not clear Marshall relishes an expanded role). Says Levy: "If you are asking me which is the biggest, brightest, most creative and generally successful of our agencies in the U.S., I'd answer without a moment's hesitation: Publicis & Hal Riney. But we haven't made these kinds of decisions regarding its positioning as the Publicis face." Marshall would take over the U.S. lead from Bob Bloom, chairman of Publicis in NY. Bloom came into the picture when Levy bought a French agency that owned Bloom's U.S. shop. With the Riney shop rising in Levy's empire, the Bloom may be off the rose.

Mick does Mac, Apple apes M'soft

Microsoft borrowed the idea for Windows software from Apple's Macintosh. So how appropriate to see Apple borrow the Rolling Stones from Microsoft. The Stones' "Start Me Up" was the focal point of Wieden & Kennedy's loud launch of Windows 95. This week, Apple promotes a new assortment of blue, red, green, orange and purple iMacs with a TBWA spot featuring the Stones' "She Comes in Colors." The colors aren't much different from the colors in the Windows logo: blue, red, green, yellow.

Norcia . . . Sherwood

DDB Needham is promoting Compaq worldwide acct. dir. Steve Norcia to managing director of the NY office. Norcia will keep his Compaq duties. . . . Pat Sherwood won't be leaving DMB&B in Mich. to run TBWA's Nissan biz. TBWA talked to Sherwood within the past two months (AA, Jan. 4), but agency spies report DMB&B struck a deal to keep him. . . . "Find k in the Loop," say outdoor ads in Chicago for Discover card. Do hookers there take credit cards?

Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Bruce Crumley, Alice Z. Cuneo, Jean Halliday, Julie A. Johnson, Laura Petrecca, Chuck Ross and Laurel Wentz.

Got an Adage? Tell Brad by phone, (323) 651-3710, ext. 111; fax, (323) 655-8157;

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