U.S. Postal Service looks ahead to agency search

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The U.S. Postal Service formally announced plans to prequalify bidders starting this month for its ad account. The postal service is expected to select one or more agencies for a one-year contract, with annual extensions for four years. Once a list of qualified agencies is ready, the postal service is expected to send out requests for proposals on the account. Postal service ad spending topped $100 million in 1998. Currently handling its ads are FCB Worldwide and Y&R Advertising, both New York, and Draft Worldwide and Frankel, both Chicago.

Pier 1 stashes $60 mil acc't at Campbell-Ewald

Pier 1 Imports named Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., as agency of record for its $60 million account. The specialty retailer previously didn't have a full-service shop.

Stamps.com shifts $15 mil acc't to Draft

Stamps.com moved its estimated $15 million account to Draft Worldwide from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore. Stamps.com in October launched a TV campaign with comedian Bob Newhart as spokesman, but the account now is centering on direct response. Draft will open a Los Angeles office to serve the business.

Lewinsky touts weight loss in Jenny Craig ad

Jenny Craig Inc. reportedly planned to unveil a new campaign Jan. 2 featuring former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The advertising, which will run during daytime talk shows and on cable, targets women ages 25 to 54. In the spot, Ms. Lewinsky promotes Jenny Craig's low-carbohydrate diet, which has enabled her to lose 31 pounds so far. Suissa Miller, Los Angeles, created the estimated $7 million campaign.

Ford revives spot backing all 7 of its auto brands

Ford Motor Co. is reviving the commercial featuring all seven of its auto brands. Ford made a major media splash with its global TV "roadblock" buy in November, a first flight that it said cost more than $10 million. A 60-second version of the original 2-minute spot returned in the U.S. Jan. 1. It breaks Jan. 4 outside the U.S. J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit, created the commercial.

Gay market-oriented Mulryan/Nash closes

Gay marketing specialty shop Mulryan/Nash, New York, is closing. Agency President Dave Mulryan declined to comment on the reasons for shuttering the agency, stating, "My future plans are unclear." Mulryan/Nash, founded in 1991, had clients including Warner-Lambert Co.'s Agouron Pharmaceuticals and Subaru of America.

Tobacco companies seek dismissal of gov't suit

Tobacco companies last week asked dismissal of a U.S. government lawsuit seeking disgorgement of their profits because of illegal marketing activities. The marketers said, in part, that an agreement with states already provided most of the remedies sought, and the U.S. demand that companies go further by providing corrective advertising was "compelled speech" that violates the First Amendment. They also said the government had no legal basis to sue.

P&G mop wins round against Johnson in court

A U.S. District judge in New York on Dec. 17 issued a temporary restraining order sought by Procter & Gamble Co. to halt a direct-comparison TV spot for S.C. Johnson & Son's Pledge Grab-It electrostatic dust mops and cloths. The commercial, from FCB Worldwide, Chicago, claims Pledge Grab-It cloths are superior to P&G's Swiffer. In a complaint filed earlier in the month (AA, Dec. 20), P&G claimed the ad was misleading and would do irreparable harm to Swiffer in the early stages of its rollout. The court has yet to rule on a preliminary injunction that could halt the Pledge ad permanently.

Also . . .

Newman's Own to Gotham, New York, as first agency of record. Founded by actor Paul Newman and author A.E. Hotchner, the food products marketer donates its profits to charity. . . . Industrial equipment supplier iMark.com to Publicis, Dallas, as its first agency. First-quarter spending is estimated at $5 million. . . . Interpublic Group of Cos., New York, agreed to buy marketing research group NFO Worldwide, Greenwich, Conn. NFO, with $425 million-plus in revenue, has 4,000 employees in 35 countries. . . . Bronnercom, the Boston-based direct and interactive marketing agency, is entering 2000 with a new moniker and proposal for an initial public offering. Newly named Digitas filed its $200 million IPO proposal with the Securities & Exchange Commission just before Christmas. Digitas had $133.9 million in revenue through September. . . . American Advertising Federation named Mary Wells Lawrence, Stanley Marcus and Bernard Flanagan to its Advertising Hall of Fame. Ms. Lawrence founded now-defunct Wells, Rich, Greene; Mr. Marcus founded Neiman Marcus Co; and Mr. Flanagan is former VP-marketing and advertising at Dow Jones & Co.

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