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Rice burners

Media people are still buzzing about the fall of the XFL. The latest story circulating is that Vince McMahon was so furious when Honda pulled out of the show that he tried to put a Honda Accord in the middle of a football field and blow it up as a half-time treat. The stunt was nixed by Dick Ebersol, president of NBC sports. A spokesperson from WWF would not comment.

In the meantime, Wieden & Kennedy now has a foothold on the Honda account with its recent win of some $30 million creative business in London. Perhaps that positions an alliance of sorts between Wieden and Rubin Postaer & Associates, Santa Monica, long time Honda agency. Meanwhile, Honda rival Toyota is said to be concerned with the dowdy image of the brand. But top execs at the U.S. company won't fire Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi for fear of a Tokyo-imposed Dentsu solution.

Just jousting

Yes, Frank Lowe, founder, chairman and CEO of the Lowe Group was knighted for his advertising work last week. Adages wonders if this means Sir Frank and Sir Martin (Sorrell) will mix jolly at the old round table, or perhaps dust it up in a joust. Or perhaps this honor will give Sir Frank the excuse to build that much-needed moat around the office.

Back here in the colonies, there's some beknighting going on as well. Charlie Rutman, the resourceful exec VP-managing director of Carat New York, was just promoted to president of Carat USA. He was one of the main players behind Carat's huge $700 million Pfizer Warner Lambert win. Rutman will oversee operations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Memphis and Dallas, and report directly to David Verklin, CEO of Carat North America. "I just can't run day-to-day operations of Carat USA anymore. The company's just gotten too big," says Mr. Verklin. He's not kidding, the agency just won the $600 million global Philips account. That makes Carat a $3.5 billion business in the U.S.

How does it feel to be prez of a company with billings greater than the GNP of Macedonia? "Hey, I'm the president of Carat USA, not the USA," says Rutman. "Don't call me dubya."

Meanwhile, Rutman leaves a hot job behind. "I think that will be one of the hottest jobs in the United States," says Verklin. Any takers?

You talkin to me?

Adages fears L.A. based Ground Zero's New York annex is desperate to get off the ground. Check out this dopey self-promotion, a Ground Zero West Nile Virus mosquito repellent for New Yorkers. "To fend off deadly viruses that cripple sharp thinking," reads the label. Someone's been snorting Off in that office. Everyone knows real New Yorkers don't wear repellent; they simply are repellent.

Contributing: Alice Z. Cuneo and Wayne Friedman

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