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Mints, posters for `Queer as Folk'

Sweet Logo, whose specialty is the mint medium in advertising, is offering a value-added service to Showtime Networks by placing posters as well as candy in establishments to promote what could become the latest controversial foray in TV programming. Showtime's new series, "Queer as Folk," centers on gay lifestyles. Sweet Logo puts advertising on mint wrappers and places them in appropriate establishments, but this is only the second time it has placed posters, too. The "Queer as Folk" posters are going up in about 250 restaurants in New York. Owners were given the choice of an all-type poster or another featuring two men caressing. "I thought the one that would create the most buzz was the graphic one," says Sweet Logo President Jay Brownstein. And as it turned out, restaurants favored the more explicit poster by a margin of 3-to-1, Brownstein says. "Queer as Folk" debuts Dec. 3.

Presenting the Santa cause

Five major Scandinavian companies have formed a consortium to inject new life into the Santa Finland brand. The Santa-supporting companies are Finnair, beer and soft-drink company Hartwall, Finnish telco Sonera, foods group Paulig and Swedish-controlled Merita Nordbanken. "We want to turn the Santa image into one of Finland's strongest trademarks," says Martti Laaksonen, head of Finland's Santa Foundation in Helsinki. "When people all over the world see Santa, we want them to think Finland. Santa is a very strong brand, and we want to tap into that well of global good will." The foundation is expected to raise $16 million in sponsorships this year.

Techno-talk Fuels acc't win

How New York agency Fuel North America got in the door of new client Vindigo is a case of techno one-upmanship. Andrew Deitchman, partner and director-client services at the shop, had heard about the start-up mobile applications developer through peers who try to outdo one another in keeping up on emerging trends. "Somebody tells you about something, you download it and tell 10 people you know and feel superior," he says with a chuckle. Deitchman had downloaded Vindigo's navigation software onto his PalmPilot and was "just blown away." He looked up the company on the Net and e-mailed Vindigo at 11 p.m. to tell it about Fuel and its parent, Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG. He got an e-mail back from Dave Shankman, director of marketing, saying "nice to see you keep Internet hours." A couple meetings later, the shop was assigned some projects.

Bcom3 exec calms vexed media reps

Dennis Donlin, chief of Bcom3 Group's new GM Planworks, wants to dispel rumors among Detroit's upset media reps over how his shop will handle General Motors Corp.'s new consolidated media planning. E-mails and faxes WON'T be the only way to talk to Planworks' staff. But Donlin is encouraging those uses for things like making appointments. "Just don't spam us," he warns of mass, promotional e-mails from reps. Donlin says he's also busy "fighting reports" the reps will only be invited in to see planners twice a year. "We want regular meetings, and we have plenty of meeting rooms here."

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