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Published January 12, 2007

New ads give splash of life to Old Spice

Can an agency known for offbeat campaigns that appeal to younger men, for brands like Nike, ESPN and Miller High Life, freshen the stodgy image of the Old Spice line of men's grooming products? That is the estimated $100-million question being asked as the agency, Wieden & Kennedy, introduces its first work for Old Spice since landing the creative and media accounts for the brand in February. A television, print and online campaign with the theme "Experience is everything" will take a cheeky look at modern masculinity as it seeks to extol the virtues of Old Spice as a brand family, as well as to stimulate sales of specific products like deodorants, body washes and fragrances. Commercials will feature a puckish spokesman, the actor Bruce Campbell of the droll Evil Dead movies, sending up the concept of taking advice from your elders.

Wal-Mart goes back to founder to help image

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is running national television ads praising its record as an employer and corporate citizen, taking its arguments straight to the public in an ongoing battle over its reputation with unions and other critics. The world's largest retailer, increasingly a lightning rod for politicians as well as labor unions and other activists, cites the legacy of late founder Sam Walton in a folksy 60-second ad. A 30-second ad focuses on Wal-Mart's health insurance plans for its more than 1.3-million U.S. employees. "It all began with a big dream in a small town, Sam Walton's dream," a narrator says as one ad starts with a black-and-white photo of Sam Walton and a grainy shot of Walton's first five-and-dime store in what is now the chain's headquarters town of Bentonville, Ark. "Sam's dream. Your neighborhood Wal-Mart," the ad ends.

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Jim Cramer suggested thesestocks on his CNBC show this week:

Hazardous waste-disposal companies: American Ecology Corp. (ECOL) and Stericycle Inc. (SRCL) benefit from U.S. government regulations and should be attractive to investors, Cramer said.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY): The retailer's shares are in "no man's land," and investors shouldn't buy or sell, Cramer said, recommending buying the stock if it drops to $37 and selling if it reaches $43. He said recent stock buybacks show management believes the price is too low.