Mentadent toothbrush is on the way

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Unilever's Chesebrough-Pond's is preparing to introduce Mentadent toothbrush this fall with an estimated $20 million in ad support via Ammirati & Puris/Lintas, New York, plus promotion. The dual-color brush is said to feature uniquely tufted bristles that massage gums while cleansing teeth. Company executives confirmed a launch is upcoming but refused to discuss details.

Nast picks Carey for "H&G" relaunch
David Carey, publisher of Hearst/Dow Jones joint venture SmartMoney, has resigned to become the relaunch publisher of House & Garden. Conde Nast Publications plans to reintroduce the title in the fall of 1996.

Pepsi-Cola Co. next month will launch a $50 million consumer promotion tied to the Paramount Pictures Corp. film ``Congo,'' the biggest program from a single marketer tied to a Hollywood film this summer. More than 400 million units of Pepsi products will sport ``Congo''-theme packaging beginning early June. Pepsi will distribute more than 18 million pre-paid phone cards in selected units. In mid-June, Pepsi will begin an under-the-bottle cap promotion where consumers can call a ``Congo'' hot line for a chance to win various prizes. TV spots directed by Joe Pytka supporting the promotion break June 19, 10 days after the film opens. BBDO Worldwide, New York, handles.

demise doesn't slam dunk playoff hopes
NBC, Turner Network Television and the National Basketball Association don't appear to be sweating the departure of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls from the NBA playoffs, despite the monster ratings Mr. Jordan and his team delivered. No extra on-air promotion is being planned. But while Mr. Jordan's NBA comeback helped boost interest and ratings for all NBA games, it remains to be seen if the trend will continue now that Mr. Jordan and the Bulls are out of contention. Turner Network Television is reporting that its average playoff rating is up 30% from last year; NBC's playoff games are up 13% from last year.

About 127,000 owners of Chrysler Town & Country and Plymouth Voyager minivans responded to an offer to get up to four free tickets to attend special June 22 screenings of the Disney movie, ``Pocahontas,'' the automaker said. The screenings, being held in 2,400 theaters the night before the movie officially opens, will start with a 5-minute film on the new minivans. Ross Roy Communications, Bloomfield Hills, and Carlson Marketing, Troy, worked on the project for Chrysler.

Labatt deal
Anheuser-Busch was declining comment today amid rumors it was debating acting as a white knight suitor for Canada's John Labatt Ltd., which is under siege following a $1.7 billion offer from buyout company Onex Corp. Labatt is A-B's Canadian partner and brews and distributes Budweiser there. Onex has said it wants to sell off Labatt's non-beer businesses including the Toronto Blue Jays. A deal with Labatt would present some complications. A-B already owns the St. Louis Cardinals, and Labatt owns part of Mexico's Fomento Economico Mexicano, whose holdings include breweries, while A-B owns part of Mexican rival Groupo Modelo.

Walt Disney Co. purchased a 25% stake in the California Angels Major League Baseball team and has the option to buy the remaining 75%, currently owned by country music legend Gene Autry. Also, Adelphia Communications Chairman-CEO John Rigas reached a preliminary agreement to buy the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Copyright 1995 Crain Communications Inc.

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