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North American companies will increase their spending on sponsorships 14% this year to $8.7 billion, says Chicago-based sponsorship research and consultancy IEG. Anheuser-Busch Cos., St. Louis, is currently the top sponsorship spender, with a total estimated sponsorship outlay of $175 million. Philip Morris Cos. fell to No. 2, with total sponsorship spending expected to reach $165 million. signed a three-year deal with SFX Entertainment to become national title sponsor of the U.S. Hot Rod Association's Monster Truck Jam, the No. 1 monster truck tour. The do-it-yourself auto parts site plans to create Monster Truck Jam-theme advertising and promotions, and will promote Wrenchead at Monster Truck Jam events.

Lee Co. joined with Haro Bikes in a one-year sponsorship pact that includes the Lee Pipes brand of youthwear backing the Team Haro freestyle and BMX performance teams. In-store promotional displays, ad inserts in retail circulars and in-store appearances by Team Haro members are included in the deal, handled in-house by Lee.

Merck & Co. linked with Chicago Sports & Social Club, making its Propecia hair-loss remedy a sponsor of the group's sports events next fall. Propecia will get on-site presence at league games and in the 45,000-member organization's materials. The deal was handled in-house.

Clorox Co.'s Glad Products Co. formed a partnership with America's Second Harvest, allowing 10› of every purchase of Glad Cling Wrap or Gladware to go toward the hunger relief charity. The promotion includes a tear-off card on in-store displays of Glad products informing consumers about Americans facing hunger and encouraging participation.

Worth magazine is teaming with Schieffelin & Somerset's Johnnie Walker brand for a "Scotland on Wall Street" event in New York on Jan. 27. The event, for invited guests and subscribers, offers scotch tasting plus food and entertainment.

The National Import Racing Association named Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Focus, as the Official Car of the NIRA/Toyo Tires 2000 Championship Season. Popular in Europe where its design originated, the Ford Focus is helping Ford extend its brand into new markets and the automaker has substantially increased the series' purse money. Owners and drivers of the Ford Focus will compete for $30,000 in purse money per event.

Ferrero USA named model Kimberly Quinn as spokesperson for its Tic Tac mints. Ms. Quinn will appear in network and national TV spots and in-store promotions for the brand as well as for a new promotion dubbed "Incredible Stuff," beginning next month. The promotion allows Tic Tac buyers to earn points to exchange for Tic Tac-themed prizes. McCann Erickson Worldwide, New York, handles.

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