NewsWire: Week of January 26, 1997

DirectTV Beams Up New Campaign Blasting Cable Folks

EL SEGUNDO, CALIF.-DirecTV, the nation’s No. 1 satellite service with 3.3 million subscribers, is set to break a broad-based TV, print and promotion-filled brand campaign Feb. 23 that sources say takes its biggest swipe ever at the cable industry. The pitch, via Campbell Ewald, L.A., knocks cable’s poor customer service record and sharp rate increases. The campaign hits so hard, in fact, that CBS recently asked the direct broadcast satellite service to tone down two of the four creative executions. The campaign drops DirectTV’s old tag, “Satellite TV at its Best.”

Pepsi, Coke Duke It Out in New Flight of Ad Spots

NEW YORK-Pepsi Cola’s latest ad assault, unveiled during the Super Bowl, features more high-tech hijinks than usual, mixing a skysurfing Gen Xer with pierced adolescents spewing soda and a gnat singing the Rolling Stones tune Brown Sugar to introduce its new blue packaging. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola stays down-to-earth and simple, lauding winter sports fans, the color red. Extras: A spoof of “Granola Cola” for Sprite and a look at life’s mini-dramas for Diet Coke. Agencies: Pepsi, BBDO, N.Y.; Coke, Edge Creative, L.A.; Sprite, Lowe & Partners/SMS, N.Y.; and newcomer Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., for Diet Coke.

Pete’s Downplays the ‘Wicked,’ Intros Lager Beer

PALO ALTO, CALIF.-No. 2 craft beer marketer Pete’s Brewing, struggling to reestablish a core brand with strong volume potential, in April will introduce Pete’s ESP (Extra Smooth Pub) Lager, a golden-hued beer targeting the 61% of Pete’s consumers whom its research shows to drink primarily mainstream beers. As anticipated, Pete’s also will dial up the presence of company founder Pete Slosberg in ads, packaging and other marketing communications, while downplaying the word “Wicked” so it appears only on Pete’s Wicked Ale, said CEO Jeff Atkins.

Miller Pitches ‘Dick,’ Latinos in Latest Creative Thrusts

MILWAUKEE, WIS.-Miller Brewing is breaking a new round of Miller Lite ads in its “Dick” campaign from agency Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, along with major Latino campaigns behind both Lite and Miller Genuine Draft. The new ads from “creative superstar” Dick include several 60-second executions that parody old TV and movie styles, including a mini-drama about a man in a crude beaver costume who reclaims his home from woodland settlers. A Latino ad from LuceroBentz, Dallas, showing bar patrons bouncing up and down to the rhythm of a friend’s low-rider car, also will air on general-market shows. For MGD, more than a dozen Latino ads from agencies Marti Flores Prieto & Wachtel, Puerto Rico, and Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., continue the black-and-white slice-of-life themes of the core campaign.


Gambrinus, San Antonio, Texas, launches first St. Patrick’s Day promo for Corona with POP featuring sepia-toned images of a scraggly Mexican bandito wearing a sombrero from which are dangling lime-colored shamrocks. “Kiss me, I’m Irish!” is the tag . . . Following a successful Chicago test, Starbucks coffees in 3rd quarter will roll into groceries in 10 more markets . . . The Promotional Marketing Association of America changed its name to the Promotion Marketing Association, looking to reflect the increasingly international scope of the trade consortium of promo agencies and executives . . . ASSIGNMENTS: Nabisco’s Planters unit awarded North Castle Partners, Stamford, Conn., ad/promo biz for Cornnuts snacks.

Uniroyal Hammers NailGard Intro with $15 Mil. in Hype

GREENVILLE, S.C.-Uniroyal Tire will launch a $15 million marketing campaign in the fall to introduce its self-sealing tire, the Tiger Paw with NailGard. The plan will incorporate a national advertising schedule, pr and special promotions with a 90-foot, tire-shaped hot air balloon. The firm offers a groundbreaking no-hassle, three-year, free replacement guarantee. The hot air balloon depicting NailGard technology will travel to more than 40 locations nationwide. Trone Advertising, High Point, N.C., handles.

Another Deluxe Cutback at McDonald’s Dooms Fish

OAK BROOK, ILL.-McDonald’s, according to company and franchisee sources, will be replacing its Fish Filet Deluxe later this month with the old standard Filet-O-Fish, which is half the size. The Deluxe sandwich was added to McDonald’s menu in September 1996 as part of the line extension led by the Arch Deluxe, which is being pulled from many McDonald’s restaurants (Brandweek, Jan. 19). The Filet-O-Fish, while never a big seller at the Golden Arches, had a core following that rejected the larger, higher-quality and higher-priced Deluxe sandwich.

FDA Requests Changes in Clinique Advertising

WASHINGTON-The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has asked Estée Lauder to alter ad claims for its Clinique skin cream. The FDA charged that Lauder claims about Clinique’s hydrocortisone acetate creams being a “calming influence” to overstressed skin crosses the line into pharmaceutical marketing, and that Lauder doesn’t disclose an active ingredient or an expiration date. Bates, N.Y., has Clinique.

P&G Dumps Wells, Reassigns ‘Olay,’ Pringles, Gain

CINCINNATI-Procter & Gamble will dismiss Wells BDDP, N.Y., next month under an agency realignment for three brands: Oil of Olay, Pringles and Gain detergent. Olay will move to Saatchi & Saatchi, N.Y.; Pringles moves to Grey, N.Y.; and Gain heads to Leo Burnett, Chicago. The move unites agency responsibilities worldwide for the three brands. “With the loss of key people on our business at Wells, we no longer feel the agency can bring the continuity and experience needed at a critical point in time for key global brands like Olay and Pringles,” said Robert Wehling, svp-advertising at P&G. Because of the switch for Gain, Era, another P&G detergent, will go from Leo Burnett to Jordan McGrath Case & Taylor, N.Y.


The Alliance for Chiropractic Progress, a coalition of organizations serving the chiropractic profession, tabbed the Packett Group, Roanoke, Va., to develop a two-year, $1.5 million national print campaign, breaking in March. Ads will appear in Consumer Digest, Health and Prevention magazines. Further, materials will be distributed to 45,000 chiropractors for placement in local media . . . ASSIGNMENTS: Time Central, distributor of Xemex Swiss Watch, chose Lyon Advertising, Austin, Texas, to introduce the product to the U.S. via marketing, media and promotions . . . Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, based in Toronto, awarded global corporate pr account to Ruder Finn . . . Carfax, Fairfax, Va., which provides nationwide automobile vehicle history service, chose Williams Whittle Assoc., Alexandria, Va., to handle est. $1 million pr account . . . Classic Sports Network, a unit of ESPN, hired Wieden & Kennedy, N.Y., for a national branding campaign breaking in March via TV, print, out-of-home media. W&K also handles ESPN . . . . . AGENCIES: The Interpublic Group, in conjunction with its media subsidiary, Western International, acquired Herbert Zeltner Inc.. HZI founder Herb Zeltner will maintain his North Salem, N.Y., hq while chairing Western’s recently-created Strategic Review Board.

Posted by on January 26, 1997