ADAGES: Charo gives Kia a Rio bravo

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Kia Motors America's road to Rio recently wound through Universal Studios in Orlando, where dealers delighted to the enduring charm of Charo. Kia enlisted the famed "cuchi-cuchi girl" -- though having passed the half-century mark, Charo is closer to a sexagenarian than a girl -- to help unveil the Rio small sedan (AA, March 6). Charo sang "When My Baby Goes to Rio" and even started a dance line that grew to about 1,000 strong. "We did the conga right out of the meeting into the Universal lot," says Kia Exec VP-Sales and Marketing Dick Macedo.

Adman enters new cycle of life

Canadian copywriter Mark Gardiner has received his American Motorcyclist Association "Expert" license, which he says is roughly equivalent to earning a PGA Tour card. What makes the achievement unusual is that Gardiner, CD at SGCI Communications, Sackville, New Brunswick, is 45 years old. "Most racers are in their 20s," he says, "and by the time they turn 30 they're typically either broke or broken." Gardiner hopes to compete in two or three major U.S. races this year. The adman cum racer is looking for sponsors and contends his age can even be an advantage: "If you sponsor me and I'm running last, it's not your product's fault -- it's that 45-year-old arthritic copywriter. If your product is in the middle, it's a hero." Gardiner cites aspirin and Geritol as potentially good fits.

Fast-feeder's ad leaves bad taste

Hundreds of blind people with their guide dogs protested outside Nando's restaurants in South Africa after the fast-food chain ran a commercial poking fun at them. In the spot from TBWA Hunt Lascaris, Johannesburg, an elderly blind woman is knocked against a lamp pole as her hitherto steadfast guide dog tries to snatch her Nando's fried chicken. The South African Guide Dogs Association for the Blind criticized Nando's "lack of empathy." Nando's Marketing Director Josi McKenzie insisted the commercial was tongue in cheek and part of the fast-feeder's tradition of controversial advertising. The country's Advertising Standards Authority, however, banned the commercial.

`Poets wanted' . . . mammoth-sicle

If Procter & Gamble global mktg. chief Robert Wehling had his way, his company's agencies would hire more Robert Frosts and Michael Ondaatjes. At the recent Four A's media conference, Wehling said he's told agencies they should seek greater diversity of talent and hire "more poets, more philosophers, more psychologists, more romance novelists -- people who can reach the consumer in a visceral, emotional way." . . . Discovery Channel served Big Apple subway riders a new flavor of ice cream, Mammoth Crunch, to promote yesterday's global broadcast of "Raising the Mammoth." Spokeswoman Patricia Kollappallil says the Kemps Dairy-made ice cream was a "fudge ripple with chocolate-covered mammoth cookies buried deep within." . . . Multicultural Marketing Resources, New York, on April 3 opens its own library and museum, a resource for companies trying to reach just about any racial, cultural or lifestyle market. Interns will be available to help in Russian, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese and even English.

Got an Adage? Tell Dan by phone, (312) 280-3109; fax, (312) 649-5331; or e-mail, [email protected]

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