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[New York] Reebok International, Canton, Mass., is expected to sign National Basketball Association star Yao Ming to an endorsement contract this week, executives close to the situation said. Terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. The long-rumored deal comes on the heels of Mr. Yao's departure from Nike after his contract expired this summer. The 7-foot-5-inch center from China plays for the Houston Rockets. He also has deals in place with Visa USA, PepsiCo's Gatorade and Apple Computer, among others.

Martin wins $27M Quizno's account

[DENVER] Quizno's awarded creative on its $27 million account to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., according to an executive close to the review. Martin pitched against independents Romann Group, New York, Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., and incumbent Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York. Quizno's declined to comment.

Diageo launches `neat' Smirnoff effort

[London] Diageo today bows creative for its Smirnoff relaunch via WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, New York, urging consumers to try the vodka brand "neat." Five 15-second TV spots and six print ads in the estimated $140 million domestic effort feature the new bottle with an olive, a twist, a shot glass, a shaker and celery stick to play up the drink undiluted. Smirnoff also is releasing a revised execution of the brand's

"Congratulations" social-responsibility spot. Diageo has put $400 million behind the global rebranding, including a new bottle design and packaging.

Dyson launches U.S. TV campaign

[Chicago] Dyson last weekend launched its first national TV campaign with a spot featuring company founder James Dyson, inventor of the tony bagless vacuum that has rolled up market share in England and throughout Europe. Publicis' Fallon, Minneapolis, handles. Dyson spent $4.7 million in measured media through June, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Sampras takes share in Miller's `Tennis'

[New York] Tennis legend Pete Sampras has become an equity partner in Miller Publishing Group's Tennis magazine. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Mr. Sampras, who retired earlier this year with a record 14 Grand Slam men's singles titles, will serve as a special consultant and editorial contributor. He will also help with the magazine's corporate and marketing efforts.

McCann replaces CFO for 2nd time this year

[NEW YORK] Interpublic's McCann-Erickson WorldGroup replaced its chief financial officer for the second time in 2003. Ramesh Rajan, a longtime ad industry financial and operations executive, will take over for Arthur D'Angelo as CFO effective immediately, according to an agency spokeswoman. Mr. D'Angelo, who joined the company only in January, had replaced Salvatore LaGreca, whose abrupt resignation as vice chairman-finance and operations at McCann-Erickson in October 2002 followed Interpublic's announcement of its intent to restate earnings. Mr. Rajan was most recently senior VP-director of financial operations at Interpublic. Mr. D'Angelo will move to a position at the holding company, where he will help with Mr. Rajan's transition. Interpublic and McCann management made the change, according to knowledgeable executives, due to a need for an executive with both operational and financial abilities at McCann.

Dunkin' Donuts breaks coffee, espresso efforts

[Randolph, Mass.] Dunkin' Donuts today launches a pair of campaigns to promote its coffee and new line of espresso-based beverages. The $15 million, three-spot cable and network TV effort themed "Loved by all" that features a cameo by actor Ricardo Montalban is the first in six years dedicated to the Allied Domecq chain's coffee business, which accounts for 45% of sales. A separate $17 million effort with TV, radio, out-of-home and in-store displays begins in the Northeast and rolls nationwide in January through 2004. Three 30-second spots shot hidden-camera style show Dunkin' Donuts interrupting people to surprise them with lattes and cappuccinos. Four 15-second product spots are also planned. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, handles.

Audi to hire its first multicultural shop

[Auburn Hills, Mich.] Audi of America is about to hire Garcia 360, San Antonio, as its first U.S. multicultural shop, according to executives close to the pitch. Audi said it doesn't have a winner yet, but that the winning shop will do a promotions and events in Texas in early 2004 that could expand elsewhere. Audi plans to spend $1 million for the Hispanic and African-American push, one of the people close to the situation said. The other contenders were Lopez Negrete Communications, Houston; Chisholm-Mingo Group, New York; and E. Morris Communications, Chicago. Mary Ann Wilson, national advertising manager at Audi, said criteria included expertise in the Hispanic and African-American markets or ability to get resources in both areas.

Tiger Woods stars in Accenture campaign

[NEW YORK] Accenture launched a campaign featuring golfer Tiger Woods in print, TV and outdoor ads in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia. The campaign, from WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, New York, is tagged "High Performance. Delivered." The campaign is part of a multiyear agreement between the consulting firm and Mr. Woods, which includes a sponsorship of the Tiger Woods Foundation.


Time Warner's America Online has tapped Derek Koenig as VP- advertising, reporting to Len Short, exec VP-brand marketing. Mr. Koenig, most recently consumer segment marketing director, Sony Electronics, will manage AOL's agency relationships and partner with a yet-to-be named VP-media and media marketing. ... Roxio will launch Napster as a paid music service Oct. 9 at Splashlight Studios in New York. Venables, Bell & Partners, San Francisco, handles advertising for the new Napster. ... Champion Mortgage hired consultants Jones Lundin Beals to begin a search for a new advertising agency. Champion had split with Interpublic's Martin Agency in January, when Chief Marketing Officer Mark Benson left the company. ... Cotton Inc. has narrowed the review for its $20 million advertising account to 10 New York agencies, executives familiar with the situation said. Thirty-year incumbent, WPP's Ogilvy & Mather, has been guaranteed a finalist slot. Other contenders include WPP sibling J. Walter Thompson, Interpublic's Deutsch and Lowe; Publicis Groupe's Fallon and Publicis, and BBH, 49%-owned by Publicis; Omnicom's DDB; Havas' Arnold; and independent Wieden & Kennedy.

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