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Quaker Oats has selected Jordan McGrath to handle buying assignments in prime time, late-night and syndicated TV programming for Snapple beverages. The buying was previously handled by JL Media (N.Y. TIMES, 4/3)....Today's USA TODAY features a story on using controversial figures like Rush Limbaugh and Dennis Rodman as product endorsers. Pizza Hut debuted ads last week which feature both. Dottie Enrico writes, "Marketing experts say companies are now willing to risk controversy because they believe the exposure outweighs any significant threat to sales. And in a cluttered marketplace, bland ads are easily forgotten" (USA TODAY, 4/3)....NBA's "Inside Stuff" went behind the scenes of the new McDonald's TV commercial with Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, Larry Johnson, Reggie Miller, and Shawn Kemp. Johnson: "If I had to rate Charles on his acting, I would give him about a seven and a half. Of course, I am an eight and a half" ("Inside Stuff," 4/1).
Add Pinnacle and Topps to the list of card companies "taking advantage of the decision" by the NHL Enterprises and NHLPA to allow each licensed company to print a new brand this year in lieu of a second series from a previously-released brand. Pinnacle will replace the second series of Score Hockey with Select Hockey. NHL Enterprises and the NHLPA had granted Donruss, Fleer, Pinnacle, Topps and Upper Deck the rights to produce only two sets and avoid "glutting the market." After the lockout, these companies were allowed to produce a third set. Topps will introduce Topps Finest Hockey May 16 (Jay Preble, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/1).
"Following months of rumors and denials," Nike Inc. has fired SFM Media Corp. from its $70M media buying account. SFM has been handling Nike's broadcast media since '89. Wieden & Kennedy, which handles Nike's creative and print buying, will now also do Nike's broadcast buying. W&K "has been trying to wrest the business from SFM for years" (COWLES BUSINESS MEDIA, 3/31). According to AD AGE, W&K is expected to set up a network and spot TV buying unit in New York that could serve as a "foothold for a bigger Wieden presence in the Big Apple" (ADVERTISING AGE, 4/3 issue).