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3/02/2003 07:00:00 PM Eastern

Campaigns and Sponsorships

Cingular Wireless
next month will break a TV campaign using the theme line already previewed in its print ads: "Cingular fits you best." BBDO Worldwide, New York and Atlanta (where Cingular is based), created the campaign; Omnicom Group
sibling OMD USA
handles media buying. Cingular's tagline had been, "What do you have to say?"

Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser has signed on as title sponsor of the springtime boxing package due live on NBC
and Spanish-language sister net Telemundo. NBC has scheduled the "Budweiser Boxing Series" for 3:30-5 p.m. on three Saturday afternoons—May 3, 10 and 17—following Telemundo's "Boxeo Budweiser" coverage at 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Telemundo commentator Jessi Losada
will provide the live commentary in English for NBC and in Spanish for Telemundo. NBC hasn't carried professional boxing since 1992.

In a playful twist on its ongoing "spokesduck" TV campaign, AFLAC
is running a spot set in a Las Vegas wedding chapel. As two women talk about insurance, the duck for the first time doesn't turn up to squawk "AFLAC" at key moments. When the spot closes, we see why: He's at a casino show, tapping his webbed foot to Wayne Newton's singing. Kaplan Thaler Group
is the agency.

The Arby's fast-food chain is looking to an animated character, Oven Mitt, to bolster consumer awareness in its latest TV campaign. The spots that broke last Sunday as part of an estimated $85 million campaign themed "What Are You Eating Today?" Tom Arnold provides the character's voice. Oven Mitt, somewhat reminiscent of the animated Hamburger Helper hand, was created by W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich.

Chrysler Group
has joined previously signed IBM Corp.
as a major sponsor on Discovery Channel's Building the Great Pyramid. The special is scheduled for Sunday March 2 at 9 p.m. ET.

Agencies

Cox Communications' ad-sales division changed its name from CableRep Advertising
to Cox Media. The change was announced Monday.

Nextel Communications, Boston, has trimmed the competition for its estimated $150 million-plus account to six agencies: Havas's Arnold Worldwide; Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett Co.; Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch; WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson Co.; and the incumbent, IPG's Mullen. All are New York-based except Arnold (Boston), Burnett (Chicago) and Mullen (Wenham, Mass.). The two shops eliminated: Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, New York, and Publicis's Fallon, Minneapolis.

The View Ahead for Cable

So far, so good: That's the consensus of several MSO execs surveying the cable ad-sales horizon through the first quarter. Comcast
Ad Sales SVP Hank Oster
said automotive "is looking very strong for the first quarter of '03"—a period that is "pacing very well" for the his company after its recent merger with AT&T Broadband.

This year, he said, Comcast will target telcos—including wireless—and movies as sectors with promising ad-spending outlooks. Various beverages, among categories that are not as strong as he would like at his company, will be sought after this year, he added.

Insight VP of Ad Sales Kevin Dowell said, "Our January exceeded our annual and fourth-quarter performance for '02." March also is strong, but "February appears to have softened a little bit." A big reason, he explained, is that "we did extremely well with the [2002 Winter] Olympics, so we're going up against a big number" for the month.

This year, Dowell intends to become "very aggressive on network and company/system promotion initiatives" as the best way to tally incremental revenues in a tough climate. He cited Insight's fourth-quarter success with Sci Fi Channel's Taken miniseries as a major inspiration.

The MSO also plans to "reduce client churn by building relationships with and value for clients," he said, as a way to fend off increasing difficulty in getting long-term and annual ad commitments.

According to Mediacom
VP of Sales Development Steve Litwer, through the first week of February, "OnMedia
[was] pacing at 9.7% ahead for first quarter 2003."

 

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