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So Ketchum, what's on your PowerBook? Maybe an ad for Pacific Bell? We're struck by the similarity between Apple's celebrated PowerBook campaign from BBDO and work from Ketchum/San Francisco for its new phone client's Internet service. BBDO showed what celebs did with their PowerBooks. Ketchum shows bluesman John Lee Hooker's favorite Web sites with Pac Bell's tagline, "How will you use it?" The campaign was overseen by creative boss Bruce Campbell, who made news last fall for his spot promoting the agency right after Ketchum put itself up for sale. Ketchum yanked that spot after a complaint that it was a knockoff of an old N W Ayer ad. Coincidence, Ketchum said then. This time, Ketchum/SF boss Dianne Snedaker doesn't see any comparison between the Apple and Pac Bell ads: "They are not even remotely the same."

Omnicom paid $51 million in stock for Ketchum, SEC documents show. Biggest winners: CFO Edward Graf ($6.5 million), LA prez Craig Mathiesen ($3.9 million) and CEO Paul Alvarez ($3.4 million). When Omnicom last December made its first formal offer, it included a $10 million contingency in case Ketchum lost its biggest account, . But Omnicom dropped that contingency in March, when final merger details were worked out. Acura went into review in May, a few weeks before the deal closed. Is Omnicom hosed? Not necessarily. Ketchum shareholders had to set aside $6.9 million of Omnicom stock to cover certain other contingencies, and that might come into play if Acura leaves. And Omnicom is using its full resources to save the account.

While Paxson Communications provided the money for Jay MacDonald's takeover of Lang Communications, MacDonald has another believer: Jim McCann, direct-marketing guru behind 1-800-FLOWERS. McCann is backing two MacDonald projects, a custom magazine for Ernst & Young and New Outlook, a magazine planned for divorced young and single women.

Mazda VP Jay Amestoy denies simmerings in LA that Mazda's approaching ad agencies about its account, at FCB for a quarter-century. "Absolutely not," he says. Mazda has consultants working on various projects, including Hawk Media's audit of media buying, and is talking with a consultant about doing what could be a major marketing study. Amestoy insists support for FCB's work "remains almost unanimous" at Mazda. Still, word is some FCBers are nervous.

Publishing insiders say ex-Newsweek Publisher Peter Eldredge is looking to get back into the print world soon. Eldredge denies any interest in leaving his music job as VP-sales of Bertelsmann's BMG Direct....John Wayne Bobbitt didn't make the cut. Coca-Cola & Schweppes in the UK decided against using him as a pitchman.

Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Bill Britt, Alice Z. Cuneo, Mark Gleason, Keith J. Kelly, Scott Donaton and Pat Sloan.

Got an Adage? Tell Brad by phone, (213) 651-3710, ext. 111; fax, (213) 655-8157; or email, [email protected]

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