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P&G cuts Crest price in whitener battle

[cincinnati] Procter & Gamble Co. is cutting the price of Crest Whitestrips tooth whitening kits by about $10, to a suggested retail price of less than $30, as rival Colgate-Palmolive Co.'s Colgate Simply White gains ground in the category. Colgate Chairman-CEO Reuben Mark said in a conference call with analysts this month that Simply White, priced under $15, attained category leadership with a 48% share in the last two weeks of September, only a month after launch. A P&G spokesman said Whitestrips volume is up 60% from a year ago. "The new price is part of a long-term strategy," he said. "We will bring innovative products to market and prices will drop over time."

Three-minute Ford ads to air on Fox's `24'

[dearborn, mich.] Ford Motor Co.'s Ford division is the sole advertiser on the News Corp.-owned Fox Network's Oct. 29 season premiere of "24." The show will run ad-free for 54 minutes, but Ford will open and close with a pair of three-minute spots from WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, Detroit. A Ford executive said research indicated TV viewers will watch longer commercials if the ads have high energy. "We think we've done that," the executive said. "24" star Kiefer Sutherland will drive an Expedition sport utility vehicle and thank Ford in a 10-second message prior to the show. Ford declined to discuss spending. Ford said it also will advertise on other episodes of the series. QwikFIND: aao14y

Exec shifts, layoffs at PepsiCo's Quaker unit

[chicago] PepsiCo's Quaker Foods & Beverages unit, in a realignment of marketing operations, named Gatorade VP-Product Offerings Mary Dillon to be VP-marketing for breakfast products. Ms. Dillon assumes duties previously held by Todd Magazine, VP-ready-to-eat cereals at Quaker, and Rick Gomez, Quaker VP-hot cereals. Mr. Magazine succeeds Ms. Dillon at Gatorade. Mr. Gomez was named VP-marketing for shelf-stable Tropicana products, a new post. Executives familiar with Quaker said the realignment also involved layoffs. A Quaker spokeswoman declined to comment.

ReplayTV to get holiday ad push

[santa clara, calif.] ReplayTV marketer SONICblue, not a substantial advertiser since 2000, plans a holiday push for the personal video recorder in electronics stores and has named independent New York agency DeVito/Verdi to handle the assignment. Spending was not disclosed.

P&G marketer Napier takes McDonald's post

[oak brook, ill.] McDonald's Corp. tapped former Procter & Gamble Co. executive Kay Napier to be senior VP-marketing, reporting to McDonald's Exec VP-Global Chief Marketing Officer Larry Light, who joined the company in September. At McDonald's, Ms. Napier, 47, is the first hire in Mr. Light's plan to upgrade the global marketing function and she will initially work under Senior VP-Marketing Bill Lamar. Before taking early retirement at P&G in June, Ms. Napier was VP-North America pharmaceuticals and corporate women's health and vitality.

GM taps Asian-American shop; Toyota eyes two

[detroit] General Motors Corp. named A Partnership, New York, to handle its $2 million-to-$3 million Asian-American account, after a pitch against four other agencies. Incumbent Innovasia, Los Angeles, quit the GM business after secretly winning rival Chrysler Group's Asian-American account. Another pitch, by Toyota Motor Corp. for a major Asian-American project, is believed to be down to Intertrends, Los Angeles, and Dae Advertising, San Francisco.

Game marketer opens TV push for Cranium

[seattle] Board-game marketer Cranium Inc. breaks the first national TV campaign for its Cranium game Nov. 4. Three 15-second spots dramatize the humorous results of having too much fun. Spending was not disclosed. Doner, Southfield, Mich., handles.

Infiniti G35 spot breaks on TV Nov. 2

[gardena, calif.] Nissan North America's Infiniti division launches its G35 coupe Nov. 2 supported by spot TV, with advertising on national cable Nov. 4. Theme is "You've spent a long time dreaming. So have we." Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., handles. The estimated $20 million push includes national newspapers, magazines, outdoor and Internet.

`Liz' returns in ads for new fragrance

[los angeles] Actress Elizabeth Taylor's House of Taylor breaks ads on cable TV this week for new fragrance Forever Elizabeth. Creative, from Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, shows Ms. Taylor watching a love scene between a young Ms. Taylor and Montgomery Clift in the movie "A Place in the Sun." Spending is expected to be close to $15 million.

FYI . . .

Independent Media Services, New York, won a $6.8 million New York state supreme court judgement against Aegis Group's Carat North America Oct. 25, lawyers in the case said. IMS had charged that Carat had agreed not to solicit IMS clients in 1999 when the two agencies entered ultimately unsuccessful merger talks. Carat later pitched against IMS for its largest client, New Line Cinema, and won the assignment, the suit charged. ... Golden State Bancorp said its estimated $4 million California Federal Bank account is moving to Citigroup agency Fallon, Minneapolis, a unit of Publicis Groupe, from Interpublic Group of Cos.' SuissaMiller, Los Angeles. Federal agencies are expected to give final approval soon to Cal Fed's merger with Citigroup, the advertiser said. ... New York City printing services broker John Chessa pleaded guilty Oct. 25 to two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, according to papers filed in U.S. District court in Manhattan. The plea came in the investigation of alleged schemes that defrauded clients of Grey Global Group's Grey Advertising. (See The Week, P. 10). ... FedEx Corp. is pulling out as the title sponsor of the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) series, CART president Chris Pook said. Spending was not disclosed. ... New York City transportation department officials issued a $50 summons to Microsoft Corp. for posting hundreds of decals to support MSN 8. Microsoft said it had a city permit to use the butterfly stickers.

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