Star running back penalized for sneakers

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Say what you want about the National Football League, but it protects its sponsors and licensees with the same kind of competitive zeal found on the playing field.

Stud rookie running back Reggie Bush of the New Orleans Saints (the official Adages NFL team) and sneaker and apparel giant Adidas found that out the hard way.

In making his professional debut in a preseason game, Bush wore flashy cleats with the Adidas marks clearly visible. That's a no-no in the NFL, which stands for No Footwear Logos-unless they're for official licensees Nike, Reebok and Under Armour.

Bush was fined $10,000 by the league-which he said Adidas picked up-and was to have worn tape over the offending logos in this past weekend's game. Though Bush initially pleaded ignorance of the rule, the league said there was no tolerance even for a rookie. Or for Adidas, even though it owns Reebok.

Gnome not ready for prime time

We expect more from our lawn ornaments, but apparently even the wise old Roaming Gnome, currently in the employ of Travelocity, has been caught up in "American Idol" foolishness. Auditions are being held across the country and RG (as we like to call him), along with Travelocity PR Manager Joel Frey, dropped by the San Antonio tryouts. RG, through a spokesman, claims that "Simon was mesmerized. He said I had a voice like pure helium." He also claims that he was a victim of height discrimination, making the charge on the local Fox affiliate news program (which is exactly the sort of hard-hitting coverage we expect from Fox affiliates).

What next? The Geico Gecko on "So You Think You Can Dance"?

And then there were 10

Advertising Week fast approaches and with it the only event (aside from the March of the Icons) that Adages cares much about: the Fluid Battle of The Ad-Bands IV, to be held at The Supper Club on Wednesday, Sept. 27. We here at Adages have gotten our hands on a list of this year's acts: the Subliminals, from Grey Worldwide, New York; World Grope, from McCann Erickson, New York; Crankdaddy, from MRA Group, Syracuse, N.Y.; Macho Grande, from FCB, New York; the Assless Chaps, from JWT, Chicago; the Bullets, from JWT, New York; the Music Department, from Vidal Partnership, New York; the Igniters, from Brushfire, Cedar Knolls, N.J.; Space Shuttle Ants, from Mullen, Wenham, Mass.; and a still-nameless entry from Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners' New York office.

Sadly, we here at Adages have been put on notice by superior powers that we've exceeded our yearly quota for mentions of a certain sartorially-named ad-band from an agency below the Mason-Dixon line, so we can't name the reigning champions.

Would you like a blush with that blog?

Further signs that we're one step closer to every single person on the planet being a blogger (forget those pesky polls that show otherwise): a wine blog from a freezer company. Blog.subzerowine.com is part of an online component to Sub-Zero Freezer Co.'s ad campaign, "Enemies of wine," which focuses on how elements such as heat, vibration, light and temperature affect wines. Of course, there's only so much you can say on that subject. In fact, the tagline seems to sum it up nicely. So Sub-Zero tapped famed wine-industry experts to write about wine in general including Andrea Immer, Michael Green and Anthony Dias Blue. Oddly enough, we couldn't find anything on the blog about boxed wine. Perhaps it's time we grow up and switch to jugs.

Stand clear of the closing doors

From time to time, Adages is known to pick up a book, read it and make a recommendation based on its contents (or at least on its bright, shiny cover). In that vein, we humbly suggest you pick up a copy of "The Subway Chronicles" (Plume), which was edited by Jacquelin Cangro and hits bookstores Aug. 29. It includes subway-related essays by Jonathan Lethem, Francine Prose, Calvin Trillin and, in case you were wondering why a non-marketing book was sneaking into this column, some guy named Ken Wheaton. He gets no money from sold copies, but his ego is a fragile, yet easily satisfied thing. (Just seeing his name in boldface gets him giggling.)

Contributing: Rich Thomaselli Catch a ride with kwheaton@crain.com
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