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'Boss as Star' Campaigns Can Backfire if the Executive Falls From Grace

October 16, 1990|BRUCE HOROVITZ

"We don't want him to be the star of the commercials," said George Brennan, senior vice president of marketing at Eastern Airlines. "We want our advertising to focus on the product."

Gemstar Fires Agency After Only One Month

These days it's big news when an agency picks up a new account worth $3 million. But it's also rather embarrassing when the agency loses the business within a month of announcing the win.

Last month, Gemstar VCR Plus, a Los Angeles maker of remote devices that program VCRs, awarded its account to the Los Angeles office of J. Walter Thompson. Last week, Gemstar turned around and handed the ad business to the Los Angeles office of DDB Needham Worldwide.

For DDB, the win is the second in three weeks. Last month, it won the ad business for the Moto du Monde motorcycle road-racing series. DDB/Los Angeles has picked up $40 million in new billings since Jan. 1, said Dave Park, president of the office, which now posts annual billings of $176 million.

Davis Ball Picks Up Avis' Regional Account

The same agency that handles advertising for Knott's Berry Farm and Marine World Africa U.S.A. has picked up a client that can transport people to both places--Avis. The Los Angeles agency Davis Ball & Colombatto last week won the Avis Rent-A-Car licensee business for Southern California, Las Vegas and Nevada. Although agency executives declined to state the size of the business, industry sources estimate it to be worth about $3 million annually.

"All rental car ads look the same," said Mark Davis, executive vice president of the agency. While unwilling to describe his agency's upcoming Avis ads, Davis said they would be very unconventional. "Otherwise," he said, "they'd be wasting their money."

Card Maker Come-On: Reggie's Autographs

What's a baseball card maker to do during the fall, when most people are thinking about football?

Well, how about slipping something extra into baseball card packets--such as, say, 2,500 "Baseball Hero" cards that are numbered and personally autographed by former California Angel slugger Reggie Jackson?

That's what the 2-year-old Yorba Linda company Upper Deck has done. As a result, sales are up. Of course, the odds of finding the card aren't good. There are 700,000 other Reggie Jackson cards that aren't autographed, said Don Bodow, vice president of the company.

How long did it take Reggie to sign all those cards? An entire weekend.

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