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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer execs, in N.Y. last week for the Licensing Show, took time out to pitch agencies on using the Pink Panther as spokes-icon for their clients. It's part of MGM's "Rethink Pink" plan to revitalize the franchise. The cat's been gainfully employed in ads pushing Owens Corning insulation since 1980. MGM hopes more cool, sophisticated brands will hire the debonair cat. "He's the Cary Grant of animated characters," says MGM Sr. VP-Mktg. Doug Gleason.

A team

with 1 player?

Stay tuned for brand team changes at Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Division due to model cuts. The Sporting Brand Team will be left with only Mustang when Thunderbird and Probe drive into the sunset at the end of the model year. The Youthful Team loses Aspire; Aerostar falls at the Family Team. Bob Rewey, corp. grp. VP-mktg. & sales, says Ford hasn't decided what to do. "You should not read into this," he says. "There's no major structural change or retrenchment from the brand management process."

How ZD could

connect to cable

Ziff-Davis' upcoming ZDTV channel needs cable distribution. Might it have a cable connection in Brian Roberts? Connect the dots: ZD now produces a TV show for Microsoft's MSNBC. Microsoft pushed its commitment to cable Internet access last week by paying $1 billion for a piece of Roberts' Comcast cable system. Roberts sat on ZD's board when Forstmann Little owned the company. ZD bets its TV channel will appeal to the sort of consumers who would spring for a cable modem to get high-speed Web access along with TV. Let's make a deal.

Fly the Rising skies of United

The pilot on a United flight to N.Y. told passengers he wished he could welcome them to the "Friendly Skies" but that he'd been told to stop using the banished slogan. "Well, I guess I could say something about 'Rising,' " he said. The plane, he explained, now would be rising to 32,000 feet. Later, the cap'n violated company policy. "If you don't tell anybody," he said, "I hope you'll come back and fly in the friendly skies with us again."

Bimbo (b)ad . . .

Tour de France

Advertising Women of N.Y. wants entries for The Good, the Bad & the Ugly Awards to honor "advertising that 'gets it' while also making note of the ads that still treat women as Bimbo, Biddie, Bitch or Betty Crocker" . . . A Beverly Hills promoter is pitching French travel packages with a stop at a Parisian cosmetic surgeon. "It's like any vacation," say ads by free-lance team Barry Fiske, Dino Santilli and Melanie Levant. "You go. You see the sights. You lose your bags." . . . S&W Fine Foods, a West Coast canned vegetable brand, is branching into branded fresh produce. . . . Will staffers at Santa Monica's Colby Effler take their cue from the boss? New arrival Rick Colby has moved his pool table into the agency. . . . "Own one and you'll understand," says Infiniti's new line. Or should it say rent one: About half of Infinitis are leased, not bought.

Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Mercedes M. Cardona, Alice Z. Cuneo, Jean Halliday, Jeff Jensen and Chuck Ross.

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

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