Sprint, Eds May Merge

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WESTWOOD, Kan.-No. 3 long-distance marketer Sprint Corp. and General Motors Corp.'s Electronic Data Systems have been conducting talks that could lead to a merger, industry sources said last week. Sprint is eager to expand its multimedia capabilities. EDS last year said it was interested in pairing with a telecommunications partner. Officials declined comment.

DEL MAR, Calif.-sJenny Craig selected Suissa/Miller, Santa Monica, Calif., to handle creative on its estimated $54 million weight-loss centers account. J. Walter Thompson USA, San Francisco, which formerly handled, retains media buying.

SAN FRANCISCO-Pacific Bell has narrowed its review for its $30 million-plus account to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising and Ketchum Advertising, all San Francisco. Presentations are scheduled for mid-June. The account formerly was at Foote, Cone & Belding.

TOKYO-Sony Corp. this week will make the long-awaited announcement that it is entering the videogame business. "Play Station" will cost about $500 and be released for Christmas, after a major marketing campaign, the InfoAge Marketing fax newsletter reported. Sony is expected to announce an agency review this week for the new product.

CUPERTINO, CALIF.-Apple Computer breaks an ad campaign from BBDO Worldwide, Los Angeles, today in The Wall Street Journal for its new PowerBook 500 line, introduced as the biggest revamp of the trendy PowerBook since it debuted in late 1991. The introduction comes a week after market researcher Dataquest released figures showing Apple fell from first to third in portable PC market share last year, behind Compaq Computer Corp. and Toshiba Corp.

VIENNA, Va.-America Online is close to naming its first agency of record and will begin testing direct response TV advertising before the end of the year, said Jack Davies, senior VP in charge of marketing. Bozell Worldwide's Alexandria, Va., office is among agencies being considered for the fast-growing online service's account.

NEW YORK-NBC on Friday unveiled its 1994-95 prime-time schedule, replacing eight hours with five hours of dramas, two hours of comedies and one new hourlong news program. New comedies include "The Martin Short Show" and new dramas include "The Cosby Mysteries." Notable is the move of Thursday night hit "Frasier" to Tuesday against ABC's highly rated "Roseanne." ABC revamped six prime-time hours, adding four new half-hour comedies and two 1-hour dramas.

NEW YORK-Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is testing an effervescent version of its Excedrin pain reliever called Excedrin 2 in Pittsburgh. Bozell Worldwide, New York, handles the brand.

MILWAUKEE-Miller Brewing is reviewing sports TV and lo cal media buying responsibilities, now mostly at Backer Spielvogel Bates Worldwide, New York. But it will confine the review for what may be as

much as $150 million in advertising to its current four agencies-Backer and Leo Burnett USA, Young & Rubicam and J. Walter Thompson USA, all Chicago.

MARLBORO, Mass.-Rockport, a leading footwear marketer owned by Reebok International, today starts its first-ever global advertising campaign. The $15 million TV and print effort is from new agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London.

NEW YORK-The Golf Channel, a pay cable network that will start in

January, has named Golf Magazine its official magazine. Golf Magazine Properties, the publication's sports marketing and ad sales arm, will sell print/TV advertising packages.

NEW YORK-Hearst Corp. and ESPN have put on indefinite hold plans to

develop a new sports magazine, industry executives at both companies said.

ST. LOUIS-DIMAC Direct has acquired Direct Marketing Group, New York, forming a combined agency with $250 million in billings and giving DIMAC its first New York presence.

LA CROSSE, Wis.-G. Heileman Brewing Co. named W.B. Doner & Co.,

Baltimore and Southfield, Mich., to handle a creative assignment for a new brand, which apparently is a malt liquor or a clearmalt competitor to Zima.

CHICAGO-Shamrock Holdings bought a 5.5% stake in Helene Curtis

Industries last week, prompting speculation Shamrock might be trying to put the company into play or stage an acquisition as it earlier did with Faberge and L.A. Gear.

SAN FRANCISCO-Ziff-Davis Publishing this week is expected to announce a new monthly home computer title, Computer Life, to hit newsstands in mid-September with a rate base of 300,000.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va-Leo Burnett Co., Chicago, won the American Association of Advertising Agencies' A+ Creative Award for agencies with billings of more than $20 million. Borders, Perrin & Norrander, Seattle, took first place in the category for agencies with billings up to $20 million. McDonald's Corp. earned top honors in the Four A's A+ Advertiser Award over Ikea U.S. and Michelin Tire Corp.

OAK BROOK, Ill.-McDonald's Corp.'s upper management is still debating which agencies to invite to pitch its $10 million Hispanic marketing account, an executive close to the review said. The company told Castor Advertising, New York, two months ago they would lose the account. McDonald's director of Spanish marketing, Marta Gerdes, is said to favor giving the creative portion to del Rivero Messianu Lintas, Coral Gables, Fla.

WASHINGTON-Sen. Strom Thurmond (R., S.C.) faced reality Friday and withdrew from further consideration this year a bill to require health warnings in all beer, wine and spirits ads..

NEW YORK-The fledgling body wash category has two more entrants: Benckiser Consumer Products' Calgon Bath and Lever Bros.' Caress Body

Wash. Caress will be supported with more than $25 million in advertising from BBDO Worldwide, New York, while Calgon will be backed with an estimated $3 million print campaign from Margeotes Fertitta & Weiss.

MONROE, Mich.-La-Z-Boy Chair Co. is reviewing its national ad assignment as the first step to broaden its image beyond reclining chairs to include a full line of home furniture. The company plans to increase media spending from this year's $6 million-to-$8 million level to $10 million-to-$12 million in 1995. Incumbent Ross Roy Advertising, Bloomfield Hills; W.B. Doner & Co, Southfield; and other agencies will make pitches.

TOKYO-Dentsu on May 15 established Beijing Dentsu Advertising Co., a

joint venture with the state-owned China International Advertising Corp., which holds 47%, and the private Da Cheng Advertising, which holds 2%. Beijing Dentsu opens with personal-care and detergent business from Kao Corp., and expects $10 million in billings within 12 months. Dentsu is also setting up agencies in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, both joint ventures with local companies. It's eyeing Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and South Korea as possible expansion markets.

LONDON-U.K. hardware chain Do It All moved its $27 million account to GGT from Cogent.

MILAN-Procter & Gamble started a new $28.3 million TV campaign for its detergent Dash. The campaign by Leo Burnett Co. takes on Unilever's staggered European rollout of super-concentrated Omo Power and Persil Power (AA, April 11, et seq.). Unilever's brand will enter Italy this summer with a campaign from J. Walter Thompson Co., London.

Saatchi chairman blasts industry LONDON-Saatchi & Saatchi Co. Chairman Maurice Saatchi criticized the ad industry last week at a dinner hosted by the Women's Advertising Club. The field, he said, lacks self-confidence and self-worth more now than ever in his memory. He also lamented the difficulty of creating global advertising that appeals to a wide range of people but is not "bland and jellylike."

JOHANNESBURG-M-Net is hearing pitches for its $5.7 million cable TV account from Hunt Lascaris TBWA, Ogilvy & Mather, Rightford Searle-Tripp & Makin and incumbent Young & Rubicam.

BARCELONA-Nissan Motor Iberica consolidated its $22 million Spanish account with TBWA, moving an estimated $2.2 million for trucks, vans and 4-by-4 vehicles from Lorente Grupo de Comunicacion. TBWA already handles Nissan's passenger cars.

LONDON-NBC Super Channel is hearing pitches for a $4.5 million pan-European campaign for its third-quarter advertising and promotions. Pitching are Young & Rubicam, Publicis, Euro RSCG, Grey, Leo Burnett Co., Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, BMP DDB Needham, DMB&B, McCann-Erickson, TBWA/Holmes Knight Ritchie and Robinson Pinkerton Evans.

BUENOS AIRES-Backer Spielvogel Bates Worldwide said it is negotiating to buy an undisclosed share of Verdino de Publicidad, which had 1993 billings of $24.6 million.

LONDON-QVC-The Shopping Channel, the U.K. arm of U.S. channel QVC, plans to reach Norway June 1 and Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands later this year. Viewers in new markets will watch the channel's U.K. signal, and will eventually be able to telephone bilingual order operators. In the U.K., QVC expects sales of $60 million in the year since it opened in September.

MILAN-Samsonite Italy is rolling out high-quality, midprice leather shoes in July, with plans to expand into Europe next year and the U.S. in 1996. The introduction will be handled by a $2 million campaign from in-house agency Saturn & Saturn.

PARIS-Givenchy is rolling out Fleur d'Interdit, a perfume aimed at teen-age girls, in France on June 9 with a $900,000 print campaign from Wolkoff & Arnodin. Givenchy will introduce it in Belgium and Switzerland June 15 and in the rest of Europe in July.

LONDON-Colgate-Palmolive and SmithKline Beecham Consumer Brands U.K. are introducing baking soda toothpastes under the Colgate and Macleans brands, respectively. Young & Rubicam handles Colgate's $4.5 million TV campaign. Grey London handles SmithKline's Macleans.

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