Unilever Ad Campaign Started in May

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A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.

BOSTON ( -- An ad for Lipton Iced Tea that features the Dixie Chicks is temporarily on hold, according to people familiar with the situation. The country music group's lead singer in March during a concert was made comments critical of President Bush in the days leading up to the country's war with Iraq.

Other ad plans
A spokeswoman for Unilever, which jointly markets Lipton with PepsiCo in the Pepsi-Lipton Tea Partnership, would not comment on why the Dixie Chicks ad is not running but said, "Lipton has a number of different advertising and promotional plans in the works and has opted for now to run the commercials that currently are on air."

It's uncertain when or if the ad will run. The ads were to have debuted in May to coincide with the group's first world tour in three years.

Three current 30-second spots, which focus on getting back to a healthy way of living, started running in May in the slots designated for the Dixie Chicks ad, according to one person familiar with the situation. The person said the ads were rushed into production after comments made by Natalie Maines, the group's lead singer, caused a furor among some country music fans.

Texas dustup
In a concert in England just prior to the start of the war in Iraq, Ms. Maines told the crowd: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." The group is also from Texas. Radio stations organized boycotts, and Ms. Maine's later issued an apology

J. Walter Thompson Co., New York, produced the Dixie Chicks ads as well as those on air now. The decision not to run the ad has had no effect on the Lipton's sponsorship of the Grammy-winning group's "Top of the World Tour." The plan was for the tour was to offer Lipton a portable integrated marketing opportunity that would have included an associated Lipton Iced Tea TV spot.

PepsiCo and JWT, part of WPP Group, did not return calls for comment.

Lipton Iced Tea spent $2.9 million in measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/ CMR.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the ad campaign featuring the Dixie Chicks was being pulled. The ads have not been pulled but are on hold.

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