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[Washington, D.C.] Two brewers-Coors Brewing Co. and Heineken-and four distilled spirits makers-Diageo, Brown Forman, Bacardi and Mark Anthony Brands-as well as the Beer Institute are accused of a "long-running sophisticated and deceptive scheme to market to children and underage consumers" in a class-action lawsuit filed in U.S. Superior Court for the District of Columbia being handled by David Boies' law firm. Mr. Boies represented Al Gore and also took on Microsoft as part of the Justice Department's anti-trust case. The Beer Institute issued a statement calling the suit "without merit."

Pier 1 inks deal with Thom, Alley out as spokesperson

[Fort Worth] Pier 1 Imports is finalizing details of a deal with design guru Thom Filicia of Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" to have him serve as new ad spokesperson for the retailer, executives close to the situation said. They said Pier 1 is winding down its relationship with its present spokesperson, actress Kirstie Alley, whose three-year Pier 1 contract expires after the '03 holiday season. Ms. Alley's agent said she has enjoyed working for the retailer but that she declined to comment further. Mr. Filicia's manager and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell Ewald, Warren, Mich., the agency for Pier 1, declined to comment. Pier 1 did not return calls. See QwikFIND aap18g

Congress rushes spam bill; would pre-empt Calif. law

[Washington] Senate and House negotiators agreed on anti-spam legislation in last-minute negotiations after agreeing it would cover all commercial e-mail and toughen penalties. The bill, which would pre-empt a California anti-spam law strongly opposed by business and marketing interests, was approved by the House on Nov. 21 and expected to be approved by the Senate over the weekend and sent to President Bush in time to take effect Jan. 1.

KFC pulls `health' ads, prepares response to FTC

[Louisville, Ky] KFC is preparing its response to an inquiry by the Federal Trade Commission over the chain's month-old campaign that positions fried chicken as part of a healthy diet. "They made a routine investigation on which we will answer in about two weeks or a week to 10 days," said John R. Neal vice-chairman of KFC's franchisee National Council and Advertising Cooperative. The FTC last week confirmed it was reviewing a complaint filed Nov. 6 by the Center for Science in the Public Interest that accused KFC of deceptive advertising, but a spokeswoman wouldn't confirm or deny reports that it issued a civil subpoena. The FTC does not make public its investigations. Mr. Neal and a KFC spokeswoman denied that the chain discontinued the campaign in response to the probe, saying that the spots had run their normal flight. See QwikFIND aap17a

Cingular breaks effort under new wireless rules

[Atlanta] With the kickoff today of federal rules requiring wireless phone companies to allow customers to take their numbers to new services, Cingular Wireless this week breaks a multimedia campaign delineating reasons to switch. The campaign includes three TV spots tagged "keep your number, keep your minutes." Spending on the effort was not disclosed. Experts estimate about 9 million of the 142.5 million cell phone customers are considered "in play" as a result of the new rules. Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York, handles Cingular.

Former BK exec takes Red Lobster mktg. post

[Orlando, Fla.] Former Burger King Chief Operating Officer Kim A. Lopdrup joined Darden Restaurants' Red Lobster as exec VP-marketing, succeeding Mark McCallum, who left the seafood restaurant chain last January. Havas' Euro RSCG Tatham Partners, Chicago, handles Red Lobster.

Old Navy taps Estrada for holiday Hispanic ads

[San Francisco] Gap's Old Navy division breaks its first Hispanic-targeted TV campaign this week with two holiday spots featuring actor Erik Estrada and celebrity psychic Walter Mercado. The spots, to air Nov. 23 through Dec. 24 on Spanish-language networks, are the first work for Old Navy from Vidal Partnership, New York.

Broker Edward Jones may reopen review

[St. Louis] Brokerage Edward Jones will hear further agency pitches for the creative portion of its estimated $30 million account in January, and may reopen the review to agencies cut in earlier rounds, according to executives close to the review. The brokerage firm had been expected to select between between New York agencies Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners and Wolf Group late last month. Consultant Randy Lindell, of Westport Consulting, Danbury, Conn., confirmed another presentation will be scheduled for early January but would not comment on which agencies will participate.

Nokia adds media to ongoing creative review

[Irving, Texas] Nokia, reviewing agencies for the creative portion of its $40 million account, is expected to open a review for its media assignment as well, said people familiar with the matter. A Nokia spokeswoman could not be reached. At Richards Group, Dallas, which has handled creative and media for the account, an executive said the agency was unaware of a media review. Richards does not defend accounts that go into review.

FYI ...

Pharmaceuticals marketer Aventis assigned global marketing duties for its oncology drug brands to TAO (Team Aventis Oncology), a new Omnicom Group unit. Spending was not disclosed. See QwikFIND aap17s . ... Coca-Cola Co. named former PepsiCo agency Frankel, Chicago, a Publicis unit, as a roster shop assigned to handling youth and teen efforts. ... Blinde Design Sunglasses, New York, maker of high-end spectacles featured in "The Matrix", to Brand Buzz, New York, a unit of WPP's Y&R Advertising. Spending was not disclosed. ... Royal Bank of Canada's RBC Financial Group selected Omnicom's BBDO Canada, Toronto, to handle its estimated $22 million English-language creative account, after a review. ... Advertiser spending in newspapers paced modestly ahead of 2002 levels in the third quarter, the Newspaper Association of America said. Third-quarter spending edged up 1.5% from a year ago, to $10.9 billion in the quarter and was up 1.6%, to $31.8 billion, for 2003's first nine months. ... Lawn and garden-care consumer products marketer Scotts Co. named WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia, New York, to handle media planning and buying, following a review. Scotts Co. spent an estimated $73 million in measured media in this year's January-to-August period. ... Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, Senior VP Cindy Kemp was named chief marketing officer, a new post responsible for internal and external communications at the Publicis Groupe agency. Ms. Kemp had been group account director on Tylenol for Saatchi client Johnson & Johnson.

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