Hotline

Prime to Meet With FCC About AT&T, Comcast

BOSTON—Media agency Prime Communications will meet on Monday with the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C., to argue against the merger between AT&T Broadband and Comcast. In a prepared statement, Prime said it wants conditions attached that allow independent shops to purchase cable TV ads “on a direct and nondiscriminatory basis.” In November, Wakefield, Mass.-based Prime launched a $20 million lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Boston against AT&T Broadband, alleging unfair business practices and monopolization. Prime alleges that because it refused to sell to AT&T its Web-based lead management software, which competes with an AT&T product called Vehix, AT&T terminated its 15-year relationship with the agency. AT&T subsequently denied it violated federal anti-trust laws or engaged in unfair business practices.

Arnold in Talks With Coors

CHICAGO—Coors Brewing Co. has heard presentations from at least two agencies as it searches for what the brewery has described as “a secondary provider of concepts” to lead shop Foote, Cone & Belding, sources said. Sources identified the agencies as Arnold in Boston, a Havas shop, and Deutsch in New York, like FCB, part of the Interpublic Group. A Coors representative declined to confirm with which shops the Golden, Colo., brewery is talking, and agency officials declined comment. Pitches initially involved an undisclosed malternative beverage, according to sources. Coors spends $200 million a year on advertising, and this year it shelled out $300 million to be the official beer of the National Football League.

Mullen Breaks First Spots for Wachovia

BOSTON—Mullen has unveiled its first TV campaign for Wachovia Corp., the client’s first since merging with First Union. The agency’s Winston-Salem, N.C., office debuted the theme, “Uncommon wisdom,” in a series of 30- and 60-second spots that broke during Saturday’s broadcast of the British Open on ABC. The campaign attempts to use everyday objects and activities, such as a canoe and a diner, to illustrate the merits of Wachovia’s securities-division offerings. Spending is estimated at $60-75 million.

CVS Begins Media Search

BOSTON—CVS, the nation’s largest pharmacy chain, has begun contacting shops about the media portion of its $35 million advertising account, sources said. The client, in Woonsocket, R.I., concluded a review for its creative account last month, choosing Interpublic Group’s Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos to succeed Bates, New York. Bates’ media operations and accounts have been folded into Optimedia, a joint venture of Cordiant and Publicis Groupe. CVS representatives did not return calls.

Newport County Taps America House for Ads

BOSTON—The Newport County Convention & Visitors Bureau has selected America House Communications for ad chores. The Newport, R.I., shop beat out several Rhode Island agencies in a review, including crosstown rival Fleming & Roskelly. Both agencies had of late been working on portions of the six-figure account.