Fruit of the Loom Returns to TV

DALLAS—Following a two-year hiatus, Fruit of the Loom returns to television on Monday with a campaign from new agency The Richards Group. With an estimated $10-12 million budget, the campaign introduces a new tagline, “Good days start with Fruit of the Loom.” One spot shows men getting dressed and rehearsing saying “I do” in front of a mirror; another has kids practicing their smiles for picture day at school; in the third, women prepare to tell their husbands they are pregnant. While the underwear marketer is well remembered for ads featuring the costumed “fruit guys,” both client and agency representatives said the goal of the new approach is to better showcase the variety of fashions available beyond the brand’s basic offering of men’s white briefs. “It’s very real. We don’t have people jumping around in their underwear to funky music,” said John Shivel, client vice president of advertising and corporate communications. “We hope it’s something people can make an emotional connection with, as well as help contemporize our brand.” The spots will air on national network, cable and syndicated programming through Labor Day.

GSD&M Is a Finalist in Medicare Review

DALLAS—The Academy for Educational Development has named three finalists in its review for the $20 million fall campaign of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. The contenders are GSD&M, Austin, Texas; National Media, Arlington, Va.; and Stevens, Reed, Curcio & Co., Alexandria, Va. The purpose of the upcoming advertising will be to raise awareness of the healthcare options available to Medicare beneficiaries. The AED is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that uses both federal government and corporate funds to promote education in the areas of health, nutrition, the environment and other social issues.

Fellers Marketing Picks Up Interactive Shop

DALLAS—Fellers Marketing and Advertising has acquired Viseta, an interactive firm focused on Web software development and integrated marketing. Both Austin, Texas, agencies will continue to operate independently under separate names, with Shari Reynolds continuing as president of Viseta. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. “The alliance will change the way we go to market,” said Fellers chairman and CEO Doyle Fellers. “We are making certain that clients coordinate their communications to all marketing media, and not just to traditional outlets.” FMA, a b-to-b agency, has billings of $60 million through six offices in Texas and Oklahoma.

National Oilheat Group Cuts Contenders

NEW YORK—The National Oilheat Research Alliance, a coalition of 8,000 heating-fuel distributors, has narrowed its agency search to three shops. The finalists are Adworks in Washington, D.C., Fallon in New York and Bozell in Chicago. The group’s creative and media account is estimated at $10 million-plus. The Arlington, Va.-based client, which was formed in January, is looking for a shop to tout the benefits of oil heat to urban residents. Finalists will make strategic pitches late this month. Advertising is expected to debut in spring 2002.