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A total of 250 promotion agency execs have gotten their heads handed to them, courtesy of American Express. American Express Incentive Services and the Schupp Co., St. Louis, sent them life-size Styrofoam heads as part of a "Top of Mind" direct mail effort for the year-old Persona Select card. Each cranium, hand-painted by an artist, had a Persona Select card inserted in the top. Retailers and marketers use the card, preloaded with a set dollar value, in rewards programs. Joanne Quick, AEIS dir. of communications, says recipients have added their own touches to the "dimensional mailer" -- aka the head. Says Quick: "Some people have said they've already decorated the heads . . . [which] are sitting in their conference rooms."

Unflinching in the face of Floyd

Bill West was at his desk midweek even as a big, nasty windbag named Floyd was getting ready to visit his state. The prez-chief creative officer of Durham, N.C., agency West & Vaughan is no stranger to hurricanes. His shop stayed open during Fran in 1996, and plans were to keep the 20-person agency going in the face of Floyd. "We'll just see what happens," West said matter-of-factly as Floyd headed for the Carolinas. He figured Durham was far enough inland to avoid the brunt of the hurricane. "Our policy is that we'll probably be open but leave it up to individuals [whether to come in]. If the power's out, we won't be here." Floyd also wouldn't get the chance to disrupt West & Vaughan's production schedule. West noted: "We happen to be shooting some commercials in Chicago," where, Adages assured him, the weather was sunny, dry and blessedly Floyd-free.

Allard on track for Compaq?

The latest target of Compaq's search for a chief marketing officer could be Mary Allard, an ex-Digital corporate advertising and brand chief. Media buying sources close to the situation say Allard is ready to take the job. Reached by Adages, Allard said she had "no comment"; a Compaq spokesman said he couldn't confirm such an appointment and referred to questions surrounding it as "rumors and speculation at this point." Allard was close to DDB/N.Y. during the period it produced much-respected work for Digital, before Compaq took over the company last year. Allard's arrival could be good news for DDB as it works to get Compaq back on track.

Chinese suds . . . fat 'Standard'

China is expected to become the world's largest beer producer by 2001, says the China Liquor Commerce Association. In 1998, China produced 20 million tons of beer; current annual per capita consumption is 16 liters, vs. world consumption of about 23 liters, leaving great potential. An association official urges Chinese brewers to use advertising and promotion to compete with foreign brands. . . . The Internet isn't killing all print advertising; in fact, the Net is helping The Industry Standard. The Sept. 20 issue of the International Data Group mag has a 256-page folio, or as Publisher Steve Thompson says, "260 pages counting the covers." The Industry Standard covers the Internet economy.

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

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