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Ad Girrrls

It was a good week for women in advertising. First the Matrix Awards, where powerful businesswomen in the communication biz toasted one another. The highlight: a gale of girlish shrieks as surprise guest Robert Redford arrived to honor Lois Smith of PMK Public Relations. Later, Matrix honoree, Johnson & Johnson's Andrea Alstrup, the woman behind conservative Family Friendly Programming, caught up with the man behind the rather liberal independent filmmaking scene. "We just had some friendly banter," Andrea told Adages, speaking on her cellphone after the event."We never really discussed [Family Friendly Programming]. But when you look at the `River Runs Through It' and some of the other movies that he has directed, he does really good stuff." There was silence at the other end of the cellphone for a moment, and then Andrea bubbled. "Hey, I never really thought about it before. You've given me an idea." Watch out, Bobby!

Next, Advertising Women of New York honored Leslie Winthrop of AAR. Leslie's former protege, Donny Deutsch, rose from a table full of women and took the mike: "The truth about my success," he said. "I became Leslie's bitch."

Razor's Edge

BBDO may be helping Gillette Co. reveal the hidden goddess, but it might need intervention from a higher power. Gillette's relationship with Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide is said to be on the razor's edge, despite apparently strong early returns for the Venus women's razor and an upcoming $100 million marketing push for the June relaunch of Duracell batteries as "Copper Top," according to executives close to the company. Problems go beyond Gillette's sagging shares in such categories as batteries and disposable razors or Gillette's change in leadership, with the appointment of new CEO James Kilts in January. Even if the Duracell relaunch succeeds, a review may be inevitable, says one person close to the company, who adds that Gillette executives are frustrated with outmoded accountability measures used by BBDO and the agency's lack of integrated marketing depth. A spokesman at BBDO said the relationship with Gillette was rock solid, as far as it knew. Gillette VP-Communications Eric Kraus said: "I'm not aware of any issues between the agency and the company. That said, should there be any issues, I couldn't comment on them."

Unworthy Causes

At the International ANDY Awards, the Ad Club of New York handed out a cool $50,000 to the team from DDB Worldwide in Chicago for their work on "Whassup?!" There will be even more moolah to go around, as the Magazine Publishers of America will present its $100,000 top prize to the Kelly Award winner next month, followed by the Radio Mercury Awards' $100,000 purse handed out for top radio spots in early June. So just what do these agency winners do with the cash? "We divvied it up," says Lance Jensen, partner in Boston agency Modernista, who was part of the Arnold team that won both the $50k GRANDY and the $100k Kelly for its new Beetle introduction in 1999. Jenson said they cut the account team in for a share and then threw a party. Do agencies use these bonanzas to contribute to worthy causes? "No, we were the worthy cause," says one big-time money winner who asked to remain shamelessly nameless. "We used it to help pay for our therapy sessions."

With reports from Jack Neff and Anthony Vagnoni.

Contact a worthy cause at [email protected]

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