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Baffled by Billboard Blonde

October 05, 1987

She's stuck in traffic all day long, but the exhaust fumes haven't yet blackened her long, blond locks. From six locations, the mystery woman of the Southland freeways beams from huge billboards, with no indication of who she is or why she is there.

So secret was the identity of the advertiser--the Century City-based hotel chain, Princess Cruises Resorts & Hotels--that some executives at Patrick Media Group, which sold the billboard space, were left in the dark until last week. "These teaser campaigns are very effective," said Bruce Willoughby, vice president of sales at Patrick Media. "Our phone's been ringing off the hook with people asking who the woman is."

Forming More Perfect Union

Teamsters at Ralphs Grocery's new 170,000-square-foot, high-rise warehouse have to hit the decks running if they want to fill all the store orders in the time dictated by computer. The highly physical work, which involves heavy lifting and quick moving, frequently leads to injury.

Six months ago, a safety task force instituted a change. Now, all order selectors start their shifts flat on their backs on sheets of corrugated cardboard, stretching and limbering up. The company says the stretching has contributed to a decline in injuries.

The workers also have another incentive: Whenever they fill more orders than the computer dictates, they can earn extra pay or time off.

No wonder these guys hotfoot it through the aisles.

Accountants Need Love, Too

Leave it to an L.A. accountant to tell the rest of the nation's bean counters how to upgrade their images and breathe a little excitement in their lives.

At a recent CPA gathering in New York, Charles Kaiser Jr., managing partner of the national accounting and consulting firm of Pannell Kerr Forster, renewed his harangue that accountants have got to change the public's perception that they "don't have the personality to make it as undertakers."

His suggestions: Accountants should make a conscientious effort to appear "more social, more human and more real" when they meet non-accountants. Kaiser admits he has an uphill battle on his hands. "To work with numbers all day, you can't have a strong people orientation," he says. Underneath it all, he says, accountants have a lot to be proud of. "We really are warm and caring people."

Breaking News

Moments before NBC officials prepared to announce their development of a new advanced television technology in New York last week, word came that Los Angeles had been rattled by a major earthquake. Michael J. Sherlock, NBC's technical chief, began his press conference soberly noting this fact. Then he added: "We think our announcement's pretty earthshaking, too."

Yule Not Believe This

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Halloween's ghosts and goblins won't come out of hiding until the end of October. And Thanksgiving dinner won't be on the table until Nov. 26.

But early last week, the elves were busily decking the halls at The Broadway stores around Southern California. Christmas decorations appeared in the front windows at the chain's Horton Plaza store in San Diego (above). And before September was over, the Christmas card racks and tree-trimming shops were installed at the Glendale Galleria.

The Broadway says this is just the beginning. Trim-a-home shops will be followed by store-wide decorations. The "readiness date" for that, said a spokesman, is Nov. 6.

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