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4/27/2003 08:00:00 PM Eastern
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FX Playing Upfront Games

Coke CSTV Role Will Include Content Development

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FX Playing Upfront Games

FX Networks is making its agency and client rounds with an upfront-sales pitch that has a videogame-animation look. The departure from its former PowerPoint presentation befits FX's marketing tagline "Rewriting the rules. Changing the game," said Fox Cable Entertainment EVP of Ad Sales Bruce Lefkowitz. WildTangent, which developed the format, also created a separate 3-D animated online game for the programmer's newest series, Lucky. FX plans to drive viewers to this game—to be made available for online play or free download at www.fxnetworks.com—via promotional spots. In addition, said, WildTangent EVP of sales and marketing Dave Madden, the game will be pushed to 3.5 million users of WildTangent's own Web "game channel." His firm also is in talks with Road Runner and others about offering the game, he added.

In addition, FX plans a tournament tied to this online game, with a trip to Las Vegas as the grand prize, Madden said. In its upfront calls, FX also will be pitching integrated sponsorship opportunities that include the online game, he said.

Coke CSTV Role Will Include Content Development

One facet of Coca-Cola's $15 million deal with College Sports Television, execs said, will involve content development for the fledgling network. The companies jointly announced earlier this month that their deal—encompassing Coke's $10 million equity stake in CSTV and $5 million in marketing and promotion opportunities—would involve programming that will "build upon existing Coca-Cola sports initiatives," such as "Footballtown USA" and "Copa Coca-Cola." So far, the only joint involvement announced calls for the soft-drink giant to sponsor CSTV's Sunday-night Notre Dame sports block this fall. CSTV is already on DirecTV but has no MSO carriage deals as yet.

Accounts

A.G. Edwards & Sons
has selected Interpublic Group of Co.'s Minneapolis-based Carmichael Lynch
as its agency after a two-month account review. The account has been estimated at $20 million, but the firm spent just $1.5 million in measured media last year, by CMR estimate. Previously, Edwards had used agencies on a project basis. The other finalist for the St. Louis-based brokerage firm's review was McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C. ...

Ask Jeeves Inc. tapped TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco, to handle its U.S. creative account. In addition, the search engine appointed TBWA's Omnicom
sibling OMD USA
to take over media buying and planning. Previously, Ask Jeeves, whose creative was handled in-house, used Grey Global Group's MediaCom
media unit for planning and buying. Ask Jeeves has been working with TBWA Worldwide in the UK. Its ad spending has plunged to nearly $1 million last year, according to CMR.

Campaigns

Hershey Foods
has just begun a broadcast- and cable-network campaign for Reese's Pieces, the first for that chocolate/peanut-butter candy brand since 1994. In the spot, titled "Center of Attention," a drawing comes alive, with the candy depicted in a Claymation fantasyland. Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, New York, is the agency.

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