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Chiat/Day Ad Makers Like ‘the Human Race’

When the much ballyhooed ad campaign for Nissan hit the airwaves last month, some folks who live in the Seattle area thought the car maker’s new slogan had a familiar ring.

Indeed, it does.

Nissan is now touting that its cars are, “Built for the Human Race.” Meanwhile, one of the Seattle area’s biggest regional banks, People’s Bank, has used a similar sign-off to its ads for more than a decade: “Member FDIC and the Human Race.”

The ad agency behind both campaigns: Los Angeles-based Chiat/Day. The bank’s slogan, however, is 13 years old. The Nissan slogan, which is part of its $150-million ad campaign, is brand new. When informed of the similarities, senior executives from Nissan and the People’s Bank expressed no anger. But they certainly did express surprise.

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“I suspect it would have been smart on their (Chiat/Day’s) part to tell us about the bank slogan,” said Terry Foutz, national car advertising manager for Carson-based Nissan. “But we’d be much more bothered if the bank’s campaign was national.”

“I must say I’m disappointed,” said Joshua Green III, chairman and chief executive of People’s Bank, which continues to use the slogan even though it has not had Chiat/Day as its agency for years. “Legally, I’m sure it’s all right,” said Green, whose bank is about to be merged, “but they do appear to be using the very same concept.”

Chiat/Day executives, however, are downplaying the similarity of the two slogans. “I didn’t even think People’s Bank was using the slogan any more,” said Lee Clow, president of Chiat/Day. “It wasn’t on the top of my mind to tell Nissan about a bank slogan that had been used years ago.”

The former Chiat/Day copywriter who created the bank’s slogan in 1974 says he doesn’t mind. “There’s a 99% chance that the whole thing is a coincidence,” said Mark Doyle, now president of the Laguna Hills-based ad agency Doyle & Partners. “Besides,” he added, “no one can claim ownership to the words, ‘the human race’.”

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Southland Ad Shops Survive Crash Well

The stock market crash hasn’t so much as bruised most Los Angeles ad firms. In fact, some are actually seeing more business.

Senior executives interviewed from six area advertising agencies say the stock market tumble hasn’t cost them any advertising. “Absolutely no effect,” said Jim Surmanek, senior vice president and executive media director at the Los Angeles office of J. Walter Thompson. Richard D. Theis, senior vice president at the Torrance office of Saatchi & Saatchi DFS, agreed: “If anything, one of our biggest clients, Pioneer Electronics, plans to increase its advertising.”

Ditto in Orange County. Lincoln Savings & Loan Assn. of Irvine, the largest account at Santa Ana-based Salvati Montgomery Sakoda Inc., spends about $4.5 million annually for advertising. “And the day after the crash,” said Scott Montgomery, partner at the firm, “Lincoln increased its ads from once a week to twice a week.”

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Genesis Gives a Visible Touch to Airline Pitch

Sometimes the Genesis of an ad campaign can be in your own backyard--especially if your company not only owns an airline but also manages the British rock group, Genesis.

That firm, Virgin Enterprises, happens to own Virgin Atlantic Airways and the Virgin record label--on which Genesis has recorded the hits “Invisible Touch” and “Throwing It All Away.”

So, it may be no surprise that the threesome best-known as Genesis were tapped to be the celebrity hucksters for the airlines. But in the $1-million campaign, created by the New York ad firm Korey, Kay & Partners, the band doesn’t so much as hum one note. Instead, the band’s three members all hold their hands high, hoisting the “V” sign. In this case, however, the “V” doesn’t stand for victory. It stands for the airlines--Virgin.

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L.A.'s Japan Journal Beats a Different Drum

Can a magazine by the name of Japan Journal find a market in Los Angeles--not to mention the rest of the United States?

Boye De Mente thinks so. He is associate publisher of the new, Los Angeles-based magazine on the Japanese culture. It is a mass circulation magazine about Japan.

Japan Journal premiered last month on local newsstands. Besides taking an inside look at Japanese business, the English-language monthly--a spinoff of its Tokyo-based parent, Tokyo Journal--will look at topics like sex on Japanese television--the sort of subject De Mente said that many conventional Japanese publications won’t go near.

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The magazine’s advertisers already include such big-name companies as Coke, Federal Express and Japan Air Lines.

Michael Jackson Back and Pepsi-er Than Ever

Yes, that was the be-gloved and be-buckled one--Michael Jackson--who made his TV advertising encore over the weekend.

In the two new ultra-hyped Pepsi ads, he meets a young fan who sneaks backstage, and performs a mini-concert. But Jackson’s advertising onslaught won’t end here. He still has three years remaining on his $10-million contract with Pepsi. And when his current world concert tour reaches the United States in March, yet another slew of new Jackson ads are scheduled to hit the network airwaves. But will the ads--where Jackson sings “I’m bad, but Pepsi’s cool"--sell Pepsi? “That’s a legitimate question,” said Ken Ross, a Pepsi spokesman. “We hope the ads speak for themselves.”

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