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Renault lists 4 to compete for $600 mil media acc't

Renault shortlisted four agencies to vie for its $600 million European media buying business, agency insiders said. Participating are Carat and Optimum Media Direction, and incumbents Optimedia and Initiative. Incumbent Zenith was dropped. The French carmaker wasn't available for comment.

Transitions Optical has Saatchi in its sights

Transitions Optical named Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, to handle its estimated $75 million global account. Saatchi won the account for the marketer of tinted eyeglass lenses in a three-way race with Young & Rubicam, New York, and Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago. Saatchi's Paris branch has handled Transitions' European account for the past three years.

AT&T campaign backs Business Services unit

AT&T Corp.'s struggling Business Services unit launched a $15 million campaign June 8, part of an initial wave of advertising designed to bolster the company's Internet and data services to midsize, large and dot-com businesses. Print ads from Schifino Lee, Tampa, Fla., use actual customers, such as Internet golf pro shop, to illustrate AT&T solutions. Ads will run in major business publications, trade magazines and newspapers in 14 target markets. AT&T also will run some radio spots. Although Schifino created the effort, New York shop FCB Worldwide remains agency of record for AT&T Business Services.

MTV develops pair of ads for PepsiCo's Fruitworks

PepsiCo added national media to the grassroots campaign behind its Fruitworks brand. Two commercials were developed by media partner MTV, to run exclusively on that cable network to target 15-to-25-year-olds. The overall $10 million to $15 million grassroots campaign kicks off June 30 and runs through the summer.

Gannett pays $1.1 bil for 21 Thomson dailies

Gannett Co. purchased for $1.1 billion 21 daily papers from Thomson Corp. The dailies, clustered in what the Canadian information giant terms "strategic marketing groups," are located in Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin. At its peak in the early 1990s, Thomson owned more than 150 dailies in the U.S., but has since switched its focus to information services. Thomson expects to sell the rest of its U.S. papers soon.

CTN takes sponsor role in Emap's Gravity Games

CTN Media Group is the latest to join Gravity Games owner Emap USA and broadcast partner NBC as a sponsor for the 2000 competition, to be held July 15-23 in Providence, R.I. CTN, owner of College Television Network and Link, will provide talent for music performances at the Gravity Games, and broadcast some of the games on its satellite network. Best Buy Co. and Colgate-Palmolive Co.'s Mennen Speed Stick also are sponsoring the games.

Brazil mulls total ban on tobacco, alcohol ads

The Brazilian Senate's Commission of Constitution & Justice approved a bill banning all advertising and sponsorship for tobacco and alcohol. The bill will next be considered by other congressional bodies. Brazilian marketers spend up to $500 million a year on tobacco and alcohol marketing, and currently operate under a self-regulation system. David Hanger, International Advertising Association world president, said the move, if successful, "may bring similar efforts to introduce censorship in other Latin American countries."

Wolmuth dies; joined `Us' as executive editor

Roger Wolmuth, 53, an executive editor at Us Weekly who helped convert the title from its monthly incarnation, died June 4 from lymphatic cancer. Mr. Wolmuth joined the Wenner Media title in January, after more than 30 years at Time Inc., where he held positions at Life, Time and most recently an assistant managing editor at People.

`Newsweek' longtime critic Kroll dies at 74

Jack Kroll, 74, longtime drama critic at Newsweek and a former adman, died June 8 in New York from complications of colon cancer. Mr. Kroll was a copywriter at Benton & Bowles before he joined Newsweek in 1963. He was named senior editor in 1964 and drama critic in 1967.

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