Inside Line: New Orleans flavor spices up Acura concerts

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American Honda Motor Co.'s Acura this month will sponsor the "Acura Music Festival: Destination New Orleans." The concert tour will bring classic rock and blues artists to nine cities in a festival setting where Acura's cars will be showcased. Featured artists include John Fogerty, Aaron Neville and Irma Thomas, and the tour will hit Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington and West Palm Beach, Fla. Attendees will get to experience New Orleans-style food, arts and crafts alongside the concert. Acura's new 2001 CL and upcoming MDX luxury sport-utility vehicle will be on display at each of the admission-only events. Festival Productions, Los Angeles, is co-producing the event.

The Marketing Solutions Agency is the new name of Robinson & Maites, Chicago, founded in 1960 as a full-service promotions agency. The agency said that at this point only 20% of its business is in classic promotions, with most of its activity centering on integrated marketing, brand positioning and planning.

Meredith Corp.'s Better Homes & Gardens is joining as a co-sponsor of Lyrick Studios' "Barney's Open House" tour this fall, when public TV's purple dinosaur makes his first appearance at a shopping mall in eight years. Barney will visit malls in eight major cities, singing tunes from the new "Come Over to Barney's House" video and "Barney Rocks!" album. The events, starting Sept. 16 in Minneapolis and running till Nov. 4 in Dallas, include a fashion show of toddler apparel from the new Barney's Worldwide Collection and Barney for Baby, a new line for infants. An eight-page ad section in the November issue of BH&G backs the effort, with a sweepstakes to win an appearance in Barney magazine and a $10,000 educational bond. A variety of other prizes of Barney merchandise will be awarded. Also at Meredith, Successful Farming and DaimlerChrysler's Dodge teamed up earlier this year to co-sponsor the spring 2000 All-American Farm Team, a group of 21 college athletes in baseball, softball, and men's and women's track and field, who all have farm or ranch backgrounds. Each team member's school received a $500 scholarship on behalf of each student.

Labatt USA's Sol and Dos Equis beers imported from Mexico are backing on-premise sweepstakes this summer in 12 markets. The "Sol Summer House Sweepstakes" will award one grand prize winner a free summer house for the summer of 2001; the Dos Equis "Exxplore the Unknown" sweepstakes yields a grand prize of an expenses-paid trip for two to Explorian, a five-star adventure resort in Mexico. Creative Alliance Marketing & Communications, Southport, Conn., handles.

United Parcel Service made its first on-track delivery at a Nascar race, the Pepsi 400, as part of its five-year agreement to become the official express delivery company of Nascar. The sponsorship includes promotions, on- and off-track signage, and presence in a Nascar souvenir program, and allows UPS to use a specially designed UPS "delivery" race car in its advertising.

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