Ad Follies

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Could make a guy blush

Makeup marketers had their eyes on the last two untamed frontiers of their industry-guys and kids. Estee Lauder Cos.' Aramis USA planned to introduce in the fall a line of "self-improvement tools" for men designed to disguise skin imperfections. The line was to be called Surface. "We were very careful not to use the `M' word and scare off consumers," said Terry Darland, VP-marketing at Aramis USA. On the youth front, marketers are targeting females as young as 8 years old. Among those looking to play in this segment are Procter & Gamble Co.'s Cover Girl, Walt Disney Co. via a licensing deal with Kiss Products and Mattel's Barbie Consumer Products via a licensing deal with Cosrich Group. Explained Lynne Robertson, VP-general manager of the KidCom unit of Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis: "This is a segment of the marketplace that is gigantic, is predisposed to brands and has money to spend."

Monica's weighting game

Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, seeking to wring every nanosecond from her 15 minutes of fame, appeared in advertising for Jenny Craig Inc., via Suissa Miller, Los Angeles. But after five weeks, Ms. Lewinksy was gone from the weight loss program's advertising, though the marketer said the relationship with her was "unchanged." By November, Suissa Miller was gone too, as Jenny Craig moved its $25 million account to Doner, Southfield, Mich., and Newport Beach, Calif.

Zoloft on ice

From the Any PR Is Good PR Dept.: Skating bad girl Tonya Harding revealed on CNN's "Larry King Live" that she's taken Zoloft since 1996 and the Pfizer antidepressant may have played a role in her assault on her boyfriend in February. Ms. Harding said a mixture of Zoloft, painkillers and alcohol made her delusional. Mr. King himself came to Zoloft's defense, calling it "a wonderful medication. There's no doubt about that." The talk show host didn't say whether he'd ever taken the drug.

Foul-mouthed Furby?

Imagine parents' shock and dismay when a cute little Furby made a sexual demand after they squeezed its tummy. No, it didn't, said Tiger Electronics. The little Furby Buddy was only saying, "Hug me." A lot of moms and dads thought the verb was a similar-sounding vulgarity. Apparently, it was a problem of enunciation, but Wal-Mart Stores nevertheless pulled the toy off its shelves in June.

Machu patch-up

The Inca mountaintop citadel of Machu Picchu suffered an ad-related injury when a crane chipped off a corner of a granite-block sun clock during a shoot for Peruvian beer Cusquena. Apparently the damage could be repaired, but the mishap landed J. Walter Thompson Co. in hot water.

Your ad in this space

Pizza Hut gave Russia's strapped space program a boost when the country launched the permanent living capsule of the International Space Station. Emblazoned on the Russian rocket when it blasted off in July was the logo of Tricon Global Restaurants' pizza chain.

Devil's food?

Religion and burgers & Coke don't mix in some parts of the world. An editorialist in a Roman Catholic paper in Italy warned burgers & fries lacked "the communitarian aspect of sharing" and were better left to "atheists or even Protestants . . . than to serious Catholics." Italy was in the midst of an anti-globalization backlash, and McDonald's Corp.-marking its 15th year in the country-was a particularly ripe target. Even the Italian Communist Party, not known to march in lockstep with the Catholic Church, advocated violence against McDonald's. Meanwhile back home in the U.S., rival Burger King Corp. ran afoul of the Muslim community, as the Council of American-Islamic Relations complained a radio spot for the Bacon-Cheddar Whopper was offensive to Muslims. In the commercial, from Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York, a person named Rasheed reads a poem about the virtues of the sandwich. The ad was aimed at African-Americans, but the Muslim group identified Rasheed as one of their own-Muslims are forbidden to eat pork products. BK pulled the ad. Also under fire was Coca-Cola Co., with Muslims charging it had put anti-religious subliminal messages on its bottles in Egypt. A rumor campaign urged a product boycott, but a top Islamic leader in the country issued a fatwa, or religious opinion, that nothing blasphemous could be read in Coke's logo. The Saudi Arabian government earlier absolved Coke of such evil intentions.

Ad was too slick

Two tourism promotion offices in western France sued oil giant TotalFinaElf for more than $10 million over an ad campaign that allegedly damaged the reputation of the region's beaches and caused thousands of Europeans to vacation elsewhere. The June campaign, consisting of a 45-second "mea culpa" ad, was designed to boost TotalFinaElf's image in the wake of a December 1999 shipwreck that coated hundreds of miles of French beaches with oil. An agency exec at Harrison & Wolf, Paris, created the campaign. TotalFinaElf paid the lion's share of cleanup costs, which resulted in the pristine beaches seen at the end of the commercial. But local politicians and tourism officials were angered by the timing of the $2.5 million campaign. Visitor statistics confirmed their fears, with numerous cancellations reported in the weeks following the ad effort, attorneys for the Brittany and Pays de Loire regional tourism authorities told a French court. Their lawsuit hit as CLM/ BBDO, Paris, was rolling out TotalFinaElf's first French image campaign since the shipwreck disaster.

Munch-can't show helium ad

FedEx Corp. stumbled on the yellow brick road with a spot it debuted during the Super Bowl. Set in Oz, the commercial showed munchkins inhaling helium to raise their voices. Groups concerned about the teen practice of "huffing" inhalants protested. FedEx said in a statement that the spot had "received extraordinarily positive feedback" but "to be more sensitive to the concerns that have been expressed . . . [it was] considering revising" the ad. The commercial, created by BBDO Worldwide, New York, was pulled.

Agency job to die for

Japanese agency giant Dentsu, Tokyo, settled a historic lawsuit out of court by agreeing to pay $1.16 million in damages to the family of an employee who committed suicide. As part of the deal, Dentsu admitted for the first time that it was responsible for the suicide from overwork of Ichiro Oshima, 24, who killed himself in 1991.

Deserves an ap-ology

Branding agency Landor Associates spent months coming up with a new identity for Young & Rubicam unit Wunderman Cato Johnson. But Y&R Chairman Ed Vick vetoed the shop's new name: -ology. Wunderman executives, said to have embraced the new moniker, were caught off-guard. The agency ended up being renamed Impiric.

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