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[Atlanta] Coca-Cola Co. on Nov. 19 said it awarded new creative duties to its main U.S. agency Berlin Cameron/Red Cell, New York, as the marketer boosts its investments behind its flagship Coke Classic brand. Citing Berlin Cameron's work on Brand Coke, the marketer added an undisclosed North American assignment and ordered new creative for mid-calorie brand C2. The WPP Group agency is still a contender for the global iconic and holiday 2005 briefs as well. See QwikFIND aaq14d

Interpublic says no media deal with MPG

[New York] A representative for the Interpublic Group of Cos. denied a report saying that the company is planning to announce to a joint media planning and buying venture with Havas' MPG, calling it "yet another false rumor circulated by third parties concerning plans for our media offering." Interpublic is planning to announce a reorganization of its media units by year's end. Last week, MPG North American chief executive Jim Rose left the company to become CEO of Mosaic, a Dallas-based field sales and marketing company. MPG declined to comment.

FDA finds effects of DTC ads `troubling'

[Washington] The Food and Drug Administration, issuing a new research study about direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising, for the first time called some DTC effects "troubling." The agency said that while "DTC advertising seems to increase awareness of conditions and treatments, motivate questions for the health care provider and help patients ask better questions," it also "had effects that can be troubling," adding that half the physicians surveyed felt at least a little pressure to prescribe drugs that patients had asked for.

Colgate inches closer to selling off brands

[New York] Colgate-Palmolive Co. is near a deal to sell U.S. laundry detergent brands Fab, Ajax and Dynamo, according to people familiar with the matter, who say the most likely buyers are Germany's Henkel and U.S.-based Church & Dwight. The brands had sales of $86.5 million in the 52 weeks ended Oct. 31, according to Information Resources Inc., and would put either Henkel or C&D within striking distance of passing Unilever as No. 2 marketer of U.S. detergents.

Dave walks again in Wendy's Founders spots

[Dublin, Ohio] Wendy's International is bringing back its late founder Dave Thomas for new ads as the No. 3 burger chain phases out its quirky Mr. Wendy effort at the end of the month. Set up as a commemorative campaign to celebrate the chain's 35th anniversary, the No. 3 burger chain breaks three TV spots starting Nov. 22 as part of its Founders Week celebration. One tribute spot will run in a network roadblock. The campaign, created by Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson, New York, show snapshots of Mr. Thomas in the restaurant while a voice-over explains the company is "still doing it Dave's way."

Buick signs Aerosmith for commercial theme

[Detroit] Buick, trying to woo younger buyers, has inked a deal with Aerosmith to use the rock band's "Dream on" as its new ad theme song to match its new tag "Dream up." The General Motors Corp. brand said the first TV spot breaks nationally Thanksgiving Day to launch the new LaCrosse sedan, but the song and dream-like executions to show Buick in an aspirational light will be used in all future work. Aerosmith's first advertiser deal ever was a one-year pact in 2001 with Chrysler Group's Dodge brand and included a concert tour.

Duracell effort tackles heavy-duty competitors

[Boston] Gillette Co.'s Duracell today launches a print and radio campaign attacking low-cost heavy-duty batteries, whose rising sales have been cutting into the business of the category-leading alkaline battery brand. The ads by Acme Idea Co., South Norwalk, Conn., will run in tandem with Duracell's "Trusted Everywhere" campaign, said Mark Bertolami, VP-marketing for Duracell. One shows a pack of Energizer Holdings' Eveready Super Heavy Duty batteries beside the headline: "Why do you think they're so cheap?"

Washington ad lawyer Ron Plesser dead at 59

[Washington] Ron Plesser, a well known Washington advertising lawyer with long ties to ad groups including the Direct Marketing Association, died Nov. 18 of an apparent heart attack as he readied to go on a trip to discuss privacy regulations. He was 59. Mr. Plesser had represented the DMA on issues like "do not call" and spam and privacy legislation and had also represented a number of other ad associations. He also litigated numerous Freedom of Information cases, including one for NBC reporter Carl Stern in a suit that uncovered the first documentary evidence of the FBI's program to disrupt the civil rights movement. He is survived by his wife

FYI ...

Interpublic's Deutsch, partnering with valuation company iTVX, has launched Media Bridge Entertainment, a new product-placement company whose major selling point is pay for performance. ... Anne Belec will succeed Vic Doolan as president-CEO of Volvo Cars North America when he retires at the end of March. Ms. Belec will join Volvo here Jan. 3 for her transition from Ford Motor Co.'s Volvo Car Corp. in Sweden, where she is VP-sales operations. See QwikFIND aaq13l ... Health Net named Omnicom Group's Tequila, Playa del Rey, Calif., as agency for its estimated $5 million to $10 million direct, promotional and product positioning account. Advertising was handled on a project basis. TBWA/Chiat/Day's handles Health Net's branding. ... Time Warner's TBS has signed marketing partnerships with Ford Motor Co., Pfizer Consumer Healthcare and Lowe's home improvement store for "The Real Gilligan's Island," it's new reality show. The marketers' involvement includes elements of product placement to a media commitment. ... PalmOne, moving to solidify its category leading Treo in the burgeoning smart phone market, returns to TV today after a hiatus which started in 2001. The campaign is from independent AKQA, San Francisco. ... Gary Bassell will succeed Daisy Exposito as chairman-CEO of WPP Group's Bravo Group, starting in January 2005. Mr. Bassell 44, has been president of Miami-based independent La Comunidad. He will be based in New York and report to Ann Fudge, chairman-CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands. ... Leslee Dart, managing director of Interpublic's PMK/HBH, New York, was asked to leave and is opening her own company.

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