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Blue Stuff Fined $3M for False Ad Claims

Blue Stuff
is going to have to come up with the green stuff.

Topical-cream hawker Blue Stuff Inc., McClung Advertising
and agency President Jack McClung, have agreed to pay $3 million to the Federal Trade Commission to settle a suit against them. The FTC says the trio made unsubstantiated claims for Blue Stuff and Super Blue Stuff creams—that they would relieve severe pain—in TV infomercials that aired nationwide through most of 2001 and the first half of this year.

In addition to paying the fine, Blue Stuff must back up any future claims with "competent and reliable scientific evidence." According to the FTC, among the ingredients in Blue Stuff ($59.95 for an 8-ounce jar) are emu oil and witch hazel extract. The FDA also warned Blue Stuff Inc. that its product runs afoul of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Also found to be making false claims were the company's ads for Her Stuff cream and Essential Stuff dietary supplement (the FTC is currently reviewing the entire dietary-ad business with an eye toward reducing false claims and fraud).

Executive Shifts

Lisa McCarthy, SVP of Viacom Inc.'s Viacom Plus, New York, has been promoted to EVP of that cross-platform ad-sales unit. She also will direct Viacom Plus Regional Solutions, which creates cross-platform programs for Viacom's local media (outdoor and radio and TV stations). Among her coups: Procter & Gamble's $300 million Viacom Plus buy last year, which this year grew to $350 million.

WBBM-TV
Chicago has hired David Ford, VP of the Integrated Sales and Marketing Group at NBC Connect, as local sales manager.

Campaigns

Hewlett-Packard Co.
has just begun its biggest campaign—worth an estimated $400 million—since merging with Compaq Computer Corp.
The theme line "Everything Is Possible" appears in both its broadcast- and cable-network effort and its supporting print push. Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, created the campaign, built around testimonials in commercials and print ads from such H-P clients as Amazon.com, DreamWorks, FedEx and even NASA. H-P unveiled the new TV spots on Monday at Comdex, the computer and technology show in Las Vegas. Zenith Optimedia
handled the media buying.

Microsoft Corp.'s MSN TV, provider of Internet service on television, has begun a $5 million broadcast- and cable-net holiday campaign. Targeting older consumers as well as new-technology users accessing the Web for the first time, the direct-response campaign will be supported with ads in print, radio and direct mail. Radio and direct mail will target such markets as Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix and Tampa. Euro RSCG Tyee MCM
is the agency.

Accounts

Scripps Networks' Home & Garden Television
has pruned its agency-search list from seven to three. Those entering the HGTV finals are Doner, Southfield, Mich.; Fitzgerald & Co., Atlanta; and Marc USA, Chicago. Fitzgerald is an Interpublic Group of Cos. agency while the other two are independents. Lewis Communications, Birmingham, Ala., previously handled HGTV's estimated $10 million-plus account but isn't under consideration. HGTV sister Food Network
began its own agency search last month. Scripps officials were unavailable for comment.

Cable Doings

ESPN
and its affiliates have once again collaborated to generate big promo dollars with their fantasy-themed NFL
promotion, according to ESPN VP of Affiliate Ad Sales and Marketing Jeff Siegel. The sweepstakes promotion, which ran throughout October, ranked as the cable industry's most widely participated promo and as the one that garnered the most local ad revenues ($32 million), he said.

The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau
said last week that its 2002 Cable Advertising Conference will take place Feb. 11, once again at New York's Marriott Marquis. But the CAB is adding a new wrinkle: It will stage similar events for ad agencies and clients later that month in Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles. AOL Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons
has been set as the luncheon keynote speaker for the Manhattan conference.

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