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TIMING MAY BE WRONG FOR WAR 'PROMOTIONS'

TIMING MAY BE WRONG FOR WAR 'PROMOTIONS'

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The Persian Gulf War is spawning a new watch.

Bulova Corp. said Friday it will market a new line of watches called ``The Patriot' to honor the troops.To demonstrate that its motives are pure, Bulova reported that it will donate profits from sales of the $150 timepieces to the USO as long as American troops are fighting in the gulf.

The plans for the watch, featuring an eagle on the face, were announced in full-page ads in the New York Times and USA TODAY.

The watchmaker joins several companies - Boeing Co., Lorillard Inc. and Walt Disney Co., for instance - that have designed advertising messages saluting U.S. troops in the gulf.

But some advertising experts say consumers probably will be turned off, or worse, by wartime marketing efforts that try to tap patriotic emotions.

Philip Dusenberry, chairman and chief executive of the advertising agency BBDO-New York, said such moves inevitably are viewed as self-serving and opportunistic.

``I cannot think of a product that would be served by hooking up with the war in Iraq,' he said.

Jerry Della Femina, chairman of the ad agency Della Femina McNamee, said, ``If you want to salute the troops, you should do it anonymously.'

But putting the salute in a commercial is ``opportunism that most people would really resent. They can see right through it,' he said.

The big aerospace and defense contractor Boeing was the first to run a tribute to the troops, putting a commercial on Cable News Network shortly after the war started that showed military people at work and played the song ``America the Beautiful' in the background.

A narrator noted there are more than 4 million service people on active duty or in the reserves and said, ``We'd like to take this opportunity to thank every one of them.' The Boeing logo appeared briefly at the end of the ad.

Elliot Pulham, ad manager for Boeing Defense & Space Group, said the commercial was made and run last year on telecasts such as the Army-Navy football game.

After the Persian Gulf War started on Jan. 17, he said Boeing felt it was ``a more powerful message than before' and pulled it off the shelf. A companion print ad campaign is running this month in military publications.

Response has been overwhelmingly positive, Pulham said. ``We have a longstanding relationship with the armed forces and want to let them know that through thick and thin we stand behind them,' he said.

Lorillard, which like Bulova is owned by Loews Corp., recently announced it would begin running a yellow ribbon across the corner of print and outdoor ads for its Kent, True and Newport cigarettes to show support for the troops.

Andrew Tisch, who heads Lorillard, said he is actively encouraging other advertisers to do the same. ``We are not doing this for any opportunistic reason,' said the son of CBS boss Laurence A. Tisch, who heads Loews.

Disney got into the act after the Super Bowl football game last weekend, having MVP Ottis Anderson of the New York Giants skip the usual ``I'm going to Disney World' comment as he walked off the field.

``I'm dedicating this win to the troops,' Anderson told the Disney cameraman for a commercial run extensively in the past week.

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