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Partners & Simons Trims Staff

BOSTON—Partners & Simons on Friday confirmed that it dismissed three employees, roughly 5 percent of its staff. The layoffs are the first in the agency's 12-year history. A representative for the Boston independent did not identify those terminated or give a rationale for the cuts, saying only that no clients defected. Sources said the shop, which continues to employ about 60 people, trimmed staff based on a disappointing earnings projection for early 2002. Partners & Simons had anticipated adding sizable billings from defunct crosstown agency Holland Mark, but thus far only Yankee Candle and Teradyne have come aboard. Others, such as Dreyfus and Veryfine, have not.

Mott's Selects Wolf Group

BOSTON—Following a review, the Wolf Group was chosen last week to handle the $10 million ad account of juice maker Mott's, a unit of Cadbury Schweppes. New York's Wolf beat out crosstown incumbent Moss/Dragoti and Stamford, Conn.-based North Castle Partners. Television and print ads, as well as in-store materials, will be in the mix to support the Stamford-based client's core brands, Mott's Apple Juice and Mott's Apple Sauce.

Franz on Call in Nextel TV Push From Mullen

BOSTON—Actor Dennis Franz pokes fun at the advertising industry in three 30-second spots for Nextel Communications. In one execution, Franz yells that he doesn't "do commercials," while arguing with his agent on a Nextel cellular phone. "They're dishonest. They lie. I'm supposed to peddle some product I don't even use?" There is no tagline. The Reston, Va., client spends about $125 million annually on ads, per CMR. Wenham, Mass.-based Mullen, an Interpublic Group shop, has worked with Nextel since 1996.

Mass. Attorney General Calls for Sox Sale Probe

BOSTON—Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly said the U.S. Congress should investigate the pending sale of the Boston Red Sox to a group that includes Arnold chairman Ed Eskandarian. The group, led by outgoing Florida Marlins owner John Henry and Hollywood producer Tom Werner, bid $700 million for the team, $90 million less than a rival group led by New York corporate lawyer Miles Prentice. This has prompted accusations that Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig influenced Red Sox ownership to accept the Werner bid. Reilly asked Congress to take up the issue as part of ongoing hearings into MLB's antitrust exemption. Reilly is launching a probe of his own, but it remains unclear what steps he could take to bar the sale given baseball's exemption and questions of jurisdiction.

Arnold Animates FootJoy in New Campaign

BOSTON—In a major departure from golf product advertising, FootJoy broke a $5 million animated campaign this past weekend, via Arnold, Boston. A 60-second spot, which aired on ESPN's telecast of the PGA Tour's Mercedes Championship, features FootJoy tour pros who become transformed by superhuman powers gained from FootJoy shoes, gloves and outerwear.