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BIG MAC ATTACK: The image of that most American of icons, Ronald McDonald, toppled over and lying awash in a sea of fruit thrown by angry French protesters struck a cord with print media news editors and electronic media news producers. That made France's McDonald's boycott the top marketing story this month.

With 21 stories in the SPINdex sample of influential media outlets during the month leading up to this issue, the tarnishing of the golden arches beat the next biggest marketing story of the month -- Pizza Hut's plans to advertise on a Russian rocket ship -- by a margin of 2-to-1.

Procter & Gamble Co.'s banishment of media-based commissions also got the attention of the media. P&G's plans to move to a return on investment-based method to compensate its ad agencies attracted eight stories and ranked third.

Ad agency reactions -- including a special meeting of the American Association of Advertising Agencies -- to electronic media consolidation, especially the proposed CBS/Viacom merger, placed fourth. Rounding out this month's top five was Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.'s unusual use of an 800-number on its cigarette packs, tied to the tobacco marketer's claim that it "loves" its

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