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7Up Pitchman Orlando Jones to Retire From Gig

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Dr Pepper/Seven Up is looking for a new face for its 7Up brand, as comic actor Orlando Jones winds down his run as an amiable but accident-causing pitchman, sources said.

Jones, who urged con sumers to "make 7Up yours"—be it on a highway, street corner or basketball court— was a relative unknown when he first appeared in 7Up spots in 1999. Since then, however, he has landed starring roles in movies such as Double Take and The Replacements, and now he wants to focus on his film career, according to sources.

Word of his exit surfaces just weeks after the International Food and Beverage Creative Excellence Awards gave him a special act ing award. Attempts to reach Jones, through his agent at the Wil liam Morris Agency, were unsuccessful.

7Up shop Young & Rubicam is producing a final trio of spots with him, said sources.

One spot, set on a racetrack, shows Jones purposely driving slowly so bystanders can more easily see a 7Up logo on the side of his car, sources said. His 5-mph speed, however, results in a multicar pileup.

Another spot—proposed as a finale—features a mis hap that leaves Jones in a full body cast, said sources. It ends with him flatlining in a hospital bed.

The commercials are subject to focus-group testing and may change as a result.

The ads are still in production and won't run until later this year. Meanwhile, the shop and client are searching for Jones' replacement, hoping to keep the formula that the company credits for raising brand aware ness. A 7Up representative said Jones remains under contract, and no decision has been made on an option for 2002.