ABC adds football to Saturday night

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Walt disney co.'s ABC announced at its upfront presentation the first prime-time college football series on broadcast TV. "ABC Saturday Night College Football" will kick off Sept. 2 with a game between Notre Dame and Georgia Tech, and will continue for 12 weeks. Though some weeks will feature split national coverage, as ABC does on its Saturday afternoon college telecasts, the network is highlighting some of the top programs that have a national following. Notre Dame, for instance, will appear a minimum of three times, as will the University of Southern California, which has been in the national championship game in each of the last three seasons, winning twice. Ohio State and Michigan are also scheduled for at least two appearances. In some cases, Disney will also try to marry ABC's coverage with that of sibling network ESPN, which televises multiple games on Saturday afternoons and evenings.

Anti-drug effort targets prescription medications

the partnership for a Drug-Free America launched a national educational ad campaign last week to prevent abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications. The campaign comes on the heels of the Partnership's 18th annual survey that shows one in five teenagers - or about 4.5 million - have tried prescription painkillers such as Vicodin or OxyContin to get high. All advertising for the campaign was created pro bono by advertising agencies WPP Group's Grey Worldwide, Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Lumina Films and Omnicom's Dieste Harmel & Partners, along with a number of production companies that donated their time and effort.

Sprite's Crispin work brings back the 'lymon'

coca-cola co. is employing a back-to-the-future strategy for the Sprite brand with a campaign from Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, Miami, that reprises the drink's "lymon" roots. Five cinema spots feature creative that rapidly cuts from one bizarre scene to the next with special codes and visual rewards in between scenes. "Welcome to 'SubLYMONal' advertising," declares a voiceover for each spot. "For best results, do not blink." Far from subliminal, the spots have accompanying text that reads "DVR Ready," inviting people to record the spots to find the imbedded content. The spots close with the line "SubLYMONal Message Complete" and the shortened tagline, "Obey."

Abece's Lopez-Varela leaves agency after dispute

jose lopez-varela, who started Hill Holliday's Hispanic ad agency Abece three years ago, has left the Miami agency. His successor as managing director is Manny Gonzalez, a well-known U.S. Hispanic marketer who moved from Diageo North America last November to join Zyman Group as a managing consultant in the firm's Marketing to Hispanics (M2H) practice. Mr. Gonzalez left Zyman last week and started at Abece this week. Mr. Lopez-Varela said he is considering a couple of opportunities and expects to be able to talk about a new position within 10 days.Said Mr. Lopez-Varela, "We had differences of opinion on where Abece was going and what I had in mind. ... They weren't slight differences, they were drastic differences."

Gerber taps FCB for $41 million account

gerber products co., a Novartis company located in Parsippany, N.J., has chosen Interpublic Group's FCB, New York, to be its new agency of record for direct marketing, digital, promotional work and traditional brand advertising. "FCB won the account based upon its ability to provide full services across advertising and marketing platforms on a global basis," Gerber said in a statement. Other agencies in the review included Grey Global Group's G2 integrated marketing group, Havas' Euro RSCG and incumbent Noble BBDS, Chicago. Last year Gerber Products spent $41 million on media, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

FYI ...

steve faske, 51, to senior VP- director of business operations, a new role at Horizon Media's Diversified Services Groups. He most recently worked as chief financial officer and strategic planning officer at telecom company Lifestyle Ventures. Mr. Faske reports to Horizon President-CEO Bill Koenigsberg.
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