[new york--jan. 29] Yearend revenues for Philip Morris Cos. grew 8.1% to $68.9 billion, the company reported. The increase was driven largely by international tobacco and domestic food businesses. Domestic tobacco sales increased 8.4% to $12.5 billion in 1996. PM's Marlboro brand captured a 33% market share, the brand's all-time highest. Revenues from Kraft Foods' North American operations increased 3.8% to $16.2 billion. The dark spot in the company's performance came from struggling Miller Brewing Co., where sales grew only 0.5% to $4.3 billion. Shipments for the division, totaling 43.8 million barrels, were down 2.7% last year largely due to soft sales of its Red Dog and Genuine Draft brands. Meanwhile, Miller is shipping 1.2 million commemorative cans of Miller Lite featuring the Green Bay Packers' logo to markets in midwestern states.
[san francisco--jan. 27] The Gap's Banana Republic and Old Navy Clothing Co. stores are outsourcing to media-buying agencies. Banana Republic has appointed SpaceTime, Chicago, to handle buying for a new spring campaign. Old Navy is conducting a search for a media shop and a product placement agency.
[boston--jan. 30] Fidelity Investments last week broke an estimated $10 million network and cable TV campaign for its mutual funds. During the six-week campaign, a new spot will be created each day featuring three headlines from the latest news; Fidelity's toll-free number follows along with its new theme line: "To most people, this is news. To Fidelity, it's history." Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, handles.
[pawtucket, r.i.--jan. 27] Hasbro's Playskool toy line will launch an exclusive new line of juvenile products and toys with Microban antibacterial protection. Hasbro said Microban will help protect the toys from the growth of germs and bacteria.
[detroit--jan. 27] Ford Motor Co. will break a new 60-second spot by J. Walter Thompson USA, before and after "Schindler's List" on NBC Feb. 23. Ford is the sole sponsor of the broadcast. Ford said all NBC affiliates agreed not to do local ad breaks during the broadcast. Director Steven Spielberg and Ford Division's general manager will make brief announcements before and after the film.
[washington--jan. 28] The U.S. Postal Service won support for its controversial Priority Mail comparative advertising from the ad industry's National Advertising Review Board. NARB overturned a November ruling made by the National Advertising Division, which called on the postal service to modify the ads to disclose that Priority Mail is neither tracked nor guaranteed as are packages by Federal Express and United Parcel Service, two competitors named in the ads. FedEx said it was "clearly disappointed" with the decision.
[cincinnati--jan. 28] Procter & Gamble Co. reported a 13% increase in earnings to $944 million for the second quarter ended Dec. 31, reflecting cost savings achieved through marketing and manufacturing simplification. Growth remained sluggish, with revenue rising 1% in the quarter to $9.1 billion. Sales in the U.S. grew 3%, helped by strong gains in the laundry and snacks categories. Sales in Asia declined 8%, in part because of competitive pressure in Japan.
[armonk, n.y.--jan. 28] IBM Corp. pulled and is re-editing a spot from Ogilvy & Mather, New York, showing a great horned owl after complaints from regulators and animal advocates. The revised commercial drops the original story line in which a girl rescues and holds an owl, criticized as illegal behavior; the girl now simply sees the owl in the forest.
[cannes, france--jan. 30]U.S. judges for the 44th Cannes International Advertising Festival--Lions 97 will be: Bob Scarpelli, vice chairman-chief creative officer, DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago; Rick Boyko, senior partner-creative head, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York; and Bob Barrie, art director, Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis. Messrs. Scarpelli and Boyko will judge the film festival. Mr. Barrie will judge the Press & Poster Festival.