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Shatner Returns in Priceline.com Radio Spots

NEW YORK—William Shatner this week returns in radio spots for Priceline.com sans the off-key singing he unleashed in the client's TV ads last year. Six spots with Shatner were crafted by the New York office of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos. In one ad, Shatner positions Priceline as a way to get low-price plane tickets to beat the winter weather blahs. Shatner was absent from the most recent "Let's Jet Set" TV spots that broke in January and featured a mix of live actors and animation with voiceovers by Sarah Jessica Parker, an effort to redefine Priceline.com as a cool and customer-focused [Adweek, Jan. 8]. The spots break today on national network radio stations.

Hill, Holliday Cuts Staff in Boston

BOSTON—Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos last week dismissed at least 20-30 staffers—about 5 percent of its Boston headquarters staff. Mainly cut were junior- and mid-level employees across all departments, sources said. Agency spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom, who would not confirm the number of employees cut, called the layoff "relatively small" and attributed reductions to an ongoing effort to help the agency "stay in strong competitive shape." Hill, Holliday regularly trims staff for economic and performance reasons, and sources said the pink slips, given the current business climate, were for the most part expected.

Smaller Arnold Clients Begin to Churn

BOSTON—JetBlue Airways, which tapped Arnold Worldwide in June for its $10-15 million ad account, has been quietly talking to agencies in New York about its ad business and may be contemplating a shift, sources said. JetBlue vice president of marketing Amy Curtis emphatically denied that a review is underway and said the Kew Gardens, N.Y., client does not plan to move duties from Boston-based Arnold. Separately, both Arnold and Stop & Shop said the Quincy, Mass., grocery store chain's account will remain with the agency on a "media only" basis, with no new creative work planned for this year. Arnold in 2000 launched ads tagged, "All the ingredients."

Hotline Roundup

BOSTON—Havas Advertising, the No. 4 holding company, announced that its billings for 2000 increased to 12 billion euros (about $11 billion based on the current rate of exchange), a 49-percent improvement compared with 1999. Those figures take into account fourth-quarter billings Havas added in September when it completed its purchase of Snyder Communications, parent of Arnold Worldwide here. Havas revenue for 2000 was $2.1 billion, compared with revenue of $1.1 billion for 1999, according to Havas spokesman Alain Camon ... Liz Vanzura has been named advertising director for General Motors' Hummer. She will be responsible for leading all advertising initiatives. Creative chores are handled by Modernista! of Boston, whose co-founder, Lance Jensen, had worked with Vanzura before. She previously was the director of advertising and marketing for Volkswagen of America, a client of Arnold Worldwide, Jensen's previous employer.