DDB Needham Takes Budweiser to the Air
CHICAGO–Anheuser-Busch leverages its sports sponsorships with a new Budweiser TV campaign from DDB Needham Chicago featuring two “Blimp Guys” characters who fly over sports venues in the Bud One Airship. One of the spots, which were expected to break over the weekend, has the pair floating over a baseball game where St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire hits a ball into their blimp gondola. A second features them cruising over a NASCAR track at a placid 35 mph. The campaign will continue through the fall and winter on broadcast and cable TV.

May Narrows Creative Search to 4
DALLAS–The May Department Stores Co., St. Louis, narrowed to four finalists its search for an agency to handle broadcast creative assignments for seven of its retail chains [Adweek, Aug. 3]. Consultant Strategic Resources International confirmed the cut but would not identify the shops. Sources said the finalists include The Richards Group, Dallas; Merkley Newman Harty, New York; and W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich. In 1997, May spent $64 million on TV advertising for its chains, which include Filene’s, Foley’s and Kaufman’s.

Thrifty Car Rental Names 4 Finalists
DALLAS–Thrifty Car Rental has named four finalists to make late September presentations for the Tulsa, Okla., company’s $10 million account. Those pitching will be The Richards Group, Dallas; Bernstein-Rein Advertising, Kansas City, Mo.; Cliff Freeman and Partners, New York; and Yesawich, Pepperdine & Brown, Orlando, Fla. Cut were Temerlin McClain, Irving, Texas, and Campbell-Ewald Advertising, Warren, Mich.

Budget Names Media Contenders
CHICAGO–Budget Rent A Car, Lisle, Ill., will hear presentations for its media buying account from Carat ICG, Publicis & Hal Riney and Leo Burnett’s Starcom Media Services unit, all in Chicago. Creative duties were recently moved to Riney from former agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston. A decision on media is expected in September.

DMB&B Breaks New Campaign for Pontiac
DETROIT–D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich., has begun a new campaign for General Motors’ 1999 Pontiac Sunfire featuring the classic rock hit “Fire” by Jimi Hendrix. Two 30-second spots feature a new tagline: “Hot set of wheels. Money left to burn.” The ads broke last week in an abbreviated spot and network flight and will return with a heavy prime-time schedule in October and November. Print ads appear in September issues of national magazines.

Rite Aid Spot Tied to American Greetings
CHICAGO–Rite Aid broke a new spot Aug. 30 spotlighting its selection of American Greetings cards at its 4,000 drug stores in 31 states. Marc Advertising, Pittsburgh, is Rite Aid’s agency.