J. Walter Thompson USA's 13th floor in Detroit, occupied by the creative staff, was a winter wonderland for the recent meet-and-greet with prospective new client Ski-Doo, which the office is pitching with affiliate Groupaction, Montreal. Six inches of snow blanketed the floors and desks, though it's unknown how well a Ski-Doo snowmobile would have fared on the flotsam, since it was really shredded Styrofoam. Staff donned ski jackets and snowmobile suits. The conference room was turned into a log cabin with wooden walls, a gas fireplace and rustic plank table. After the visit, JWT made the cut from 10 shops to three finalists; Ski-Doo marketer Bombardier plans to assign the estimated $15 million account this month. JWT will leave the conference room as is, says Roman Lesnau, new-biz director. The building's landlord, however, wasn't amused by the new interior design. JWT had to pay to clean up the "snow" tracked into the elevators.
$1 mil makes putting green
Woody Harford, with one swing of his putter, walked away with about 5% of the $20 million-plus launch budget of Maximum Golf. The new News Corp. golf mag (AA, May 8) -- a kind of Maxim with cleats (features include a "Cart Girl of the Month") -- recently staged a Central Park launch gala in which the first contestant to sink a 100-foot putt scored a $1 million prize. There were 60 contestants, including celebs such as Donald Trump and Maury Povich. Harford was only the eighth contestant to try the putt, and put a quick end to the competition. The 36-year-old Manhattanite is a "weekend golfer" with a 19 handicap. Being a VP-marketing for British Airways, Harford has already golfed at St. Andrews, but now that he's one of golfing's millionaires, Harford tells Adages he plans to use his newfound wealth "to share some great golfing experiences with family and friends."
Blimp b-day . . . VW, AOL honored
The ship that launched a gaseous ad medium just turned three-quarters of a century old. The Goodyear blimp marked its 75th birthday last Saturday. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. launched its first public relations airship in 1925. It now has a fleet of seven blimps, and destinations this year include the Summer Olympics in Sydney. . . . Volkswagen and America Online, two companies that have built their names into global brands, were elected to the Marketing Hall of Fame, sponsored by the New York chapter of the American Marketing Association. VW was honored in the classic category, for brands more than 25 years old; AOL won in the current category, recognizing major brand building in the past five to 10 years. This year's honorary chairman of the Hall of Fame is Burt Manning, chairman emeritus of J. Walter Thompson Worldwide. VW and AOL will be inducted as part of the 31st annual Effie awards show this Wednesday.
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