The Quick and the Dead
Track stars don’t get a lot of endorsement offers. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Gail Devers had one with Living.com, but it was snatched away when the Austin, Texas-based company filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month after just one round of ads from Leo Burnett.
The Chicago agency produced three TV ads and six print executions tagged “Your home, your decision” last October, shortly after winning what was touted as a $20 million account. One had Devers pushing the “Enter” button on a computer and turning her loft into a track with love seats as hurdles.
The appeal to the emotional benefits of furniture buying, though, didn’t sway enough customers or investors, and the company cited a market downturn as the reason for its demise.
Good Golly, Miss Molly
Molly O! is plugging in her amps in a new series for Kids’ WB, but she might have been plugging chalupas instead.
The animated 8-year-old rock star was created five years ago by The Resistance as part of a pitch for a Taco Bell kids marketing effort. The L.A.- and New York-based creative shop intended to create an entertainment property for the advertiser, much like the cartoons featuring G.I. Joe and Cap’n Crunch, says founder David Hale.
The taco chain narrowed its choices to Molly and a cartoon cat and dog, Nacho & Dog, who eventually starred in ads instead of a show, says Hale. The Resist ance was left with rights to Molly and picked up a 13-episode network deal with the WB.
Sneak previews of Gen eration O! began last week; the series premieres next month. It juxtaposes home life with the rock-and-roll scene. In one episode, Molly’s mother, a fire chief, cancels Molly’s concert due to a fire code violation. Worried about the opening act, Molly complains, “What will I tell Megadeth?”
Good Golly, Miss Molly Hotline
SAG, AFTRA Eye Cheaper Deals
Realizing advertisers may be able to hold out longer than the talent, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists have authorized the creation of a new interim agreement with advertisers that would allow union actors to be hired at a lower cost than the current interim deal. Proposed in anticipation of the Olympic Games and the 2001 model car season, the agreement is still in development, says SAG spokesman Greg Krizman, adding that the intent is to get something moving before strike negotiations resume in New York on Sept. 13. “It’s up to union members to decide what is a fair amount of money, and it requires some feedback from the companies to say what they want,” he says.
Ric Anello, who has spent the last two years as a “trouble shooter” at D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, announced his retirement from the ad business two weeks ago. “All of my friends are gone, the guys I came up in the business with,” says Anello, 52. After 17 years at shops including Leo Burnett and DDB, Anello joined D’Arcy St. Louis in 1990 as a creative director on its flagship Budweiser business. The agency lost that account in late 1994, shortly before one of Anello’s biggest successes—the first “Frogs” spot—aired. Anello then worked on SBC Communications, only to see that business leave as well. He was named executive CD in 1998 but clashed with managing director Gary Singer, sources said, leading to his national role. His recent activities included spending several months in Detroit this year on that office’s Cadillac creative revamp. Anello, who grew up in St. Louis, plans to start a venture there later this year called Ricanello Creative Consortium, which he says won’t be an ad agency or a boutique. Until then, he’ll be at the golf course.
Arian, Lowe & Travis’ print work for Neel Tutorial Services isn’t exactly flattering. Among the mock lessons is one that shows an image of a lightbulb and challenges readers to unscramble the letters “L-I-G-H-T-B-U-B-L.” “It seemed like if you pushed the exaggeration far enough, people wouldn’t take it so seriously,” says Kevin Lynch, dean of creative at the Chicago shop. “An amoeba needed to get it.” Below the lessons is the tag, “When you need a little extra help,” along with an image of a chewed-up pencil and the company’s phone number. … AG Worldwide, New York, is in production on several TV spots as part of its ongoing national “Love your feet” campaign to modernize the Rockport brand. The spots will intersperse images of naked feet being caressed with people wearing the Marlboro, Mass., company’s shoes and apparel. Rockport will likely spend $3 million on the work through the remainder of the year, although the budget will jump significantly next year, according to Rockport vp of marketing Stefanie Lucas. The ads were originally due to break in the U.S. and internationally this spring. They could air in one or two key markets this fall, Lucas says. … Avrett Free & Ginsberg’s first three spots for Van Cleef & Arpels offer a magical view of nature in which caterpillars have jewel-encrusted wings and diamond earrings drip off leaves like dew. “The purity and simplicity and elegance of nature seemed to have the perfect answer for their classic upmarket design,” says Frank Ginsberg, agency chairman, CEO and creative director. The ads break next month. Billings were undisclosed, but sources estimated them at $5 million.
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