Hot Spots



Verizon Communications
is consolidating its account at McGarry Bowen, the New York-based agency formed last fall. McGarry Bowen, which won Verizon's corporate and image account last October, will take on product advertising as well, business that has until now been at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe & Partners, also New York.

Lowe won the Verizon business in spring 2001; that year, Verizon spent $170 million in measured media, according to CMR
estimates. Interpublic's DraftWorldwide
continues to handle Verizon's direct marketing and Publicis Groupe's Zenith Media
continues to handle media duties.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer
has shifted its Lubriderm skin-care account to Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide
from its longtime agency, WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson.
The Lubriderm account is estimated at more than $15 million.


TV Land
has lined up at least five sponsors for its newly announced TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV. The ceremonies will be taped March 2 and will air as a two-hour special at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 9, when it'll also be simulcast on Viacom
-owned sister network Nick at Nite. General Motors' Chevy Trucks will be the presenting sponsor; other advertisers will include Revlon, Orbitz, McDonald's
and Walgreens.

John Ritter, who starred on ABC's Three's Company and now stars on ABC's 8 Simple Rules sitcom, hosts the event.

Your Ad Tax Dollars at Work

The American Advertising Federation
is giving members a heads-up about a potential problem in the Michigan legislature. The Michigan Education Association
has asked the legislature and Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm
for an ad tax to help pay for educational programs. So far, the effort has met with little enthusiasm, AAF reported, and AAF VP of State Affairs Clark Rector
advised members "not to begin a high-profile letter-writing or lobbying campaign."

He did suggest that anyone who already has a relationship with a Michigan lawmaker might want to make a call to "explain the harm that a tax on advertising can do."


Audi of America, a unit of Volkswagen of America, has just begun a cable-network and spot buy for its A4 model. The campaign, running on Bravo, CNN,CNBC, ESPN, Fox News Channel
and other cable nets, is by Havas's McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C. Total ad budget, also including print and Internet, is estimated at $8 million.

Dr. Pepper
is planning a spring youth-oriented ad campaign linked to 20th Century Fox's X-Men 2 movie, slated for an early-May theatrical premiere. TV and other media will support a $100,000 tie-in instant-win contest; there also will be commemorative Dr Pepper cans featuring X2
characters. WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, New York, is the agency.

Altria Group, the new corporate name for Philip Morris Cos., will be promoted in a network TV campaign scheduled to break this week. The commercials are expected to be similar to print ads that include such copy as "What is Altria?" and explain that the company owns Kraft Foods
and Philip Morris USA
(the latter, cigarette operation will continue to use the Philip Morris name).

Previous image campaigns have shown its employees helping flood victims and the like. Leo Burnett Co., Chicago, is the agency.

Pizza Hut
has started a broadcast-network campaign for its Stuffed Crust Gold Pizza. The humorous spots, one of which broke on Super Bowl Sunday, were created by Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York.


In its latest top 10 of new TV commercials, for the two weeks ended Jan. 19, Intermedia Advertising Group
reported that consumers found Hershey's
and Snickers
the most-liked spots.

Commercials for Chips Ahoy
Warm 'n Chewy cookies, Coca-Cola's new "real" spot with Courtney Cox
and David Arquette
, and Diet Dr Pepper's "Medieval Knievel" rounded out the likeability top five, IAG said.