The Week

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Omnicom Group's GSD&M, Austin, Texas, has picked up Frito-Lay brand Tostitos. The tortilla-chip brand was previously with sibling agency BBDO, New York. The account is estimated to be worth $25 million with GSD&M rolling out new work around college football's Bowl Championship Series in January. GSD&M had worked on projects for the product line since last April. BBDO keeps other Frito-Lay salted snacks, while media remains with OMD. QwikFIND aap25d

FDA to delay new DTC guidelines

A revision in the rules for listing side effects of prescription medications in print and online advertising is just one of the reasons for the delay in new direct-to-consumer drug advertising guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA said the guidelines, originally scheduled to be released in December, would not be completed until later this month. Proponents argue that DTC promotion is of educational value. Opponents contend that consumers do not have the expertise to accurately evaluate and comprehend prescription drug advertising. QwikFIND aap25f

New Year's Eve smoke sales end

R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Winston-Salem, N.C., last week ended the month-long promotion of its Camel brand "Midnight Madness." The limited-edition cigarette was themed to the holidays and featured a champagne flavor mixed with Camel's Turkish and domestic tobacco blend. It was packaged in blue tins with the tagline `Uncork the Excitement.' Agent 16, New York (formerly Mezzina Brown & Partners), handled the campaign. It was the 11th limited-edition cigarette introduced since `99 as part of the Camel's Exotic Blend line. Ellen Matthews, director of Camel, said no sales figures were yet available, but consumers responded favorably to the commemorative tin.

Skittles shifts from BBDO to TBWA

Masterfoods USA shifted its estimated $25 million Skittles account from Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York, to sibling TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York. A Masterfoods spokeswoman said BBDO-which handles M&M's, Snickers and other brands-will take on responsibility for two unnamed product launches later this year. One executive close to the move said at least one of the launches is a chocolate brand. Masterfoods awarded TBWA/Chiat /Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., its Uncle Ben's, Whiskas and Seeds of Change brands in 2002, previously handled by D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles. BBDO won Skittles-also handled by D'Arcy-at the same time. Media duties for Masterfoods brands are under review and will be decided early next year, the spokeswoman said. QwikFIND aap25L

IRS rule says OK to expense ad costs

The Internal Revenue Service issued a rule that ended any doubts about whether advertising costs could be immediately expensed, as most marketers do, or had to be capitalized over time. The IRS in the past has questioned the expensing of advertising and packaging costs, suggesting the costs add long-term product value, and won some support in a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court case on a related cost issue. But the IRS's attempt to require capitalization of packaging costs was rejected by a tax court in a case against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and the new rule reflects that court's view. Ad groups last week praised the ruling, saying it lifts a cloud over ad tax accounting.

Chicago creative Ross dead at 85

Robert Ross, a senior creative executive at three Chicago ad agencies in the `50s and `60s, and later author of historical suspense novels, died Dec. 23 in Hendersonville, N.C. He was 85. After running his own agency, Mr. Ross joined Chicago's Tatham-Laird Advertising in 1952 and Leo Burnett Co. in 1961, where he was among those who developed the idea for Poppin' Fresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy character. He joined the Chicago office of D'Arcy-MacManus-Intermarco in 1969 and retired in 1971. Mr. Ross was a director of the American Association of Advertising Agencies and occasional contributor to Ad Age. He also helped launch the Institute for Advanced Advertising Studies at Northwestern University. In a 1985 Ad Age tribute, Mr. Ross recalled how he met Leo Burnett Co.'s founder while fishing at lakes on Mr. Burnett's farm outside Chicago. "I fished the waters for five years," he wrote, "and one day Leo appeared. He was dressed ...something like half of a comic vaudeville act. And, shyly, he talked. Once convinced I was not there to advance my career, we talked miles and tons of hours."

Thomson-Leeds founder Leeds dies

Richard H. Leeds, founder of in-store marketing agency Thomson-Leeds, died Dec. 25 of heart failure at North Shore Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. He was 82. Mr. Leeds pioneered the use of sophisticated mechanical and electrical displays. He founded Thomson-Leeds in 1952 with Chester L. Thomson.One of its best-known campaigns was the Miss Rheingold beer contest, whose winners included the then-unknown Grace Kelly and Jinx Falkenberg. In 1987, Thomson-Leeds was sold to Ogilvy & Mather, which later became part of WPP Group. In 1992, his son, Douglas, purchased the company back.


Ferrero USA, marketer of Tic Tac and Rocher chocolates, is reviewing the creative portion of its estimated $20 million account. Consultant Select Resources International is conducting the review. Incumbent Interpublic's McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, will not participate . A decision is expected in March. A separate media review will follow. QwikFIND aap25b

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