Mercury Communications is meeting agencies ahead of the restructure of its parent Cable & Wireless next year. The meetings have been arranged by Mercury marketing director Simon Esberger. But it is unclear whether they are to discuss interim plans for Mercury or launch plans for the new company, in which Mercury is being merged with three cable operators, Nynex, Bell Cablemedia and Videotron.

Chris Jones is to succeed Burt Manning as chief executive officer of J Walter Thompson Worldwide. Jones, who was chief executive of JWT London from 1989 to 1992, will take responsibility for JWT’s ‘Thompson Total Branding’ drive to sell through-the-line services to its clients, due to be introduced in 1997. Manning will continue to be chairman of JWT.

BT says it is still in discussions with five former stars of EastEnders including Leslie ‘Dirty Den’ Grantham to replace Bob Hoskins in future executions of the ‘It’s Good to Talk’ campaign.

A pan-European corporate campaign for Ford (MW October 25) will be included in the $50m (32m) global corporate work given to Ogilvy & Mather last week. The corporate account, previously confined to North America, was held by Wells Rich Green. O&M takes over on February 5.

The Advertising Standards Authority is investigating complaints about an ad for Strife, a computer game from 3DO, which appeared in the magazine PC Zone and features blood-stained testicles and a brain. The complaint adds to increasing concern about rising levels of sex and violent imagery in computer games ads.

Issue Communications has replaced Foote Cone & Belding on the shortlist for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds following a disagreement on advertising strategy. Publicis and BST.BDDP are also on the shortlist.

TBWA is tipped to produce stop-gap advertisements for Energiser batteries in the new year, while Ever Ready, the brand owner, continues to search for a full-time agency for its 26m pan-European account. The pitch list is understood to consist of BBDO, Bates Europe and KBW.

Mattel’s $755m (450m) bid for Tyco Toys could threaten DMB&B’s hold on the 5m Tyco account, toy industry insiders suggest.

Sally Ferries, the cross-channel ferry operator, has hired two agencies – advertising agency Dovetail and the direct marketing company Aspen Direct – to handle its estimated 1.5m account. The account was previously held by Ammirati Puris Lintas.

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