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Watch out, Oprah, Adages wields own club

Next month a novel about the dramatic world of advertising,"Prophet Priest & King," will be released. You won't be able to find it in Barnes & Noble because it is self-published by first-time author Cornell Graham. "What John Grisham did for the legal profession," says Cornell. "I want to do for the advertising world."

Oddly, Cornell never worked at an ad agency although he did consult for a few. He's an analyst in Atlanta who helps marketers track advertising. Most of what he knows about agencies comes from his avid reading of trade publications such as this one. It's no coincidence then that his thriller is about shenanigans surrounding an agency review, involving Prophet Priest & King, a small Atlanta ad shop. Agency review stories are generally a dry business, but Cornell raises the bar. Check out this climactic moment in the second chapter:

"CorpAir, Inc. last evening had sent the fax. CorpAir was PPK's largest client, representing one-half of the agency's $100 million in annual billings. The fax consisted of just one page-a neatly typed and well-articulated letter addressed to Mr. Harvard Prophet, President and Chief Creative Officer.

"Noticeably impatient, he removed the Ben Franklin reading glasses from the breast pocket of his tailored suit jacket and placed them just slightly on his nose. The metal frame was cold as it came to rest against his aging skin. ... 'Well, I'll be damned!' he shouted aloud, after finishing the letter. He cursed some more and banged his tightly coiled fist against his desk.... He slowly moved over to a wall of windows that stretched from the ceiling to the floor. He was fuming inside as he stared at the crawling traffic below. From his vantage point, the cars looked like an army of ladybugs scurrying for food. ... CorpAir had announced their intention to place their advertising account up for review."

Was that ladybugs or beetles? Oh, who cares? This book earns an Adages Book Club (ABC) seal of approval. Cornell's already at work on "Paisley & Shadow" -it's about an M&A in the ad business.

Motor City mutterings: Will Buick follow Olds to the wrecking yard?

Adages heard it on the grapevine: This is Buick's make-or-break year. The GM division's plans for future product are virtually nil, according to folks close to GM. Rendezvous SUV has been a sales disappointment. Regal and LeSabre are heavily fleet. Park Ave. will be a dead end. Century is still a big seller. John Middlebrook, GM's VP of brand vehicle marketing, pooh-poohed the talk, saying Buick sales were up last year (yeah, but only 1,066 units more than 2000) and it's profitable (unlike Olds when GM said it was putting its lights out). "We've got a number of new products in the pipeline" for Buick, he added. The speculation, he figured, may have been sparked by GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz's recently killing plans for the production of the Buick Bengal sports car. Meanwhile, at the recent Detroit auto show, Chrysler Group Exec VP Jim Schroer took a pot shot at his rival's use of cladding (clunky plastic exterior trim). In a skit to unveil the Pacifica sport wagon, Schroer dressed as a UPS man, said, "I have a huge load of cladding I got to deliver to [GM's headquarters]."

Saatchi nurtures the Frog within. Avez-vous du lait?

Since the French took over, things haven't been the same at Saatchi & Saatchi. The shop, which was acquired by Publicis in 2000, recently participated in a bit of breast-beating about an employee program that sounds tres francais to Adages. "LifeCare Announces the implementation of workplace breastfeeding program for Saatchi & Saatchi," reads a press release that crossed Adages' desk. The statement says 65% of Saatchi employees are women and many need an "on-site mother's room for pumping."

"We are leading the way when it comes to breastfeeding in the workplace," says Mike Burns, managing partner, Saatchi & Saatchi.

Is there actually a pumping room? "If we do have a room, and we may," says Mike, "I've never been to it."

Says one Saatchi insider: "It's a conference room on some floor. It's not fully equipped with like Medela double pumps or anything. You have to bring your own. "

Where is the milk stored, in the lunchroom fridge? "No way," says the insider. "I think you put it in your own department fridge."

contributing: jean halliday and lisa fain

Send your novel ideas to [email protected]

You can contact Cornell at [email protected]

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