Wieden denies pitching Elian for AltaVista ad

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Creatives at Wieden & Kennedy briefly considered Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy currently in the midst of an international custody fight, for an ad in its campaign for Web search engine AltaVista, but no formal proposal was made to Elian's family, said executives at the Portland, Ore., agency. Other news reports last week said Wieden had pitched Elian on an ad deal. "We did not make any formal proposal," said Chief Operating Officer Dave Luhr, and only in internal discussions considered using the youth. The agency called an attorney for the 6-year-old and left a message, but didn't return the attorney's call because it already had scrapped the idea, a Wieden spokeswoman said. David Emanuel, director of communications for AltaVista, acknowledged use of the Cuban child may have been considered in "an early conceptual idea." He said, however, "It's not part of our ad strategy, nor have we ever considered it." Armando Gutierrez, a spokesman for Elian's U.S. relatives, said: "The family doesn't want to commercialize" Elian.

Missouri sues Benetton

over Death Row ads

The state of Missouri filed suit against Benetton, which features photos of Missouri Death Row inmates in its current ad campaign. Attorney General Jay Nixon alleged Benetton lied to Department of Corrections officials in seeking permission to photograph the inmates. Named in the suit are Benetton and its creative director, Oliviero Toscani, who photographed the campaign; copywriter Ken Shulman; and Speedy Rice, director of international relations for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The suit alleges the three men gained access to inmates by claiming they were working on a project for the NACDL and that Mr. Shulman, a contributor to Newsweek, presented himself as working for that magazine. A spokesman for Benetton USA said the campaign will continue.

Ralph Lauren Media formed

in joint venture with NBC

Polo Ralph Lauren formed a joint venture with NBC and its affiliated companies ValueVision International and NBC Internet to create content for online, broadcast, cable and print media. The new company, Ralph Lauren Media, will be 50% owned by Polo Ralph Lauren, 25% by NBC, 12.5% by ValueVision, 10% by NBCi and 2.5% by CNBC.com. NBC will provide $110 million in TV and online ads on NBC and CNBC.com media in exchange for its stake, NBCi will provide $40 million in online distribution and promotion, and ValueVision will pay $50 million in cash. The venture will launch its first project in the fourth quarter, a Web site called Polo.com. The site will include an online community, content and e-commerce.

Best Buy readies new

TV commercials for April

Best Buy Co. is developing the second phase of its $100 million "Turn on the fun" campaign and will unveil three new TV spots in April. The next phase of the effort, created in-house, is expected to focus on men ages 16 to 24 and 18 to 49, with a greater variety of media, including general-interest and entertainment magazines, targeted radio, and Web ads

P&G challenges Reckitt's

Resolve product in court

Procter & Gamble Co. filed suit Feb. 9 in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati charging Reckitt Benckiser's Resolve fabric refresher infringes patents for P&G's Febreze. P&G similarly sued Clorox Co. for patent infringement last year following its launch of Clorox FreshCare fabric refresher. P&G launched Febreze nationally in 1998, followed by FreshCare last summer and Resolve last fall. The latest suit comes after Reckitt Benckiser late last year began distributing Checkout Coupons offering free bottles of Resolve fabric refresher to consumers who buy Febreze. P&G is seeking unspecified damages and a court order halting sales of Resolve.

Also . . .

Oxygen Media has signed up more than $70 million in advertising co-sponsorships and co-marketing deals for its cable TV channel and various Web sites. Marketers linking up with the women-oriented media company include Hewlett-Packard Co., Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble Co. and TheRightStart.com. . . . Radio ad revenue jumped 15% in 1999, bringing in more than $17.6 billion in revenue for local, national spot and network advertising, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau. The record-breaking year, fueled in part by dot-coms, was boosted by December ad sales, which jumped an average of 20% compared with December 1998. . . . Euro RSCG Worldwide, New York, bought majority stakes in two healthcare agencies, Lena Chow Advertising of Palo Alto, Calif., and Remtulla & Associates, Toronto. The network also named Michael Krocker CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide Healthcare, from exec VP-international at Du Pont Pharmaceuticals. He succeeds John Corcoran, who left last summer. . . . Sears, Roebuck & Co. was named the official supplier of home appliances for the 2002 Winter Olympics and the 2000, 2002 and 2004 U.S. Olympic teams. Through the multimillion-dollar agreement with Olympic Properties of the U.S., Sears will provide large home appliances such as washers, dryers and refrigerators in Olympic-related housing during the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City. Sears plans to support its Olympic effort with advertising, online projects, sales promotion, public relations and event marketing. Ogilvy & Mather, New York and Chicago, handles.

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