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AD AGE'S WORLD WIRE;MILLER GEARS UP IN RUSSIAN MARKET;SARA LEE MAKES PLANS FOR RUSSIA, MEXICO;PASTA MAKER BARILLA FILLS KEY MARKETING POSTS;INDIAN STATE LEVIES FEES FOR CREDIT CARD USE; SCIENTOLOGY TV ADS SLAMMED BY BRITISH;GERMAN SHOP, DENTSU LINK TO PUSH EXPO 2000

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[milwaukee-sept. 18] Miller Brewing Co. has extended distribution of its beers in Russia and is launching a new superstrength brew made exclusively for that market. Miller entered Russia several years ago on a limited basis, but this marks its first concerted effort to build significant distribution. Miller this month kicks off a three-year agreement to supply a variety of products through Stanley Beverages, a Russian company. Key brands are Miller Genuine Draft and Miller Magnum 7.2, a new product designed specifically for the Russian market. While most of Miller's beers have an alcohol content of between 4.5% to 5%, Miller Magnum has a 7.2% alcohol content. The launch is supported by outdoor advertising, subway posters, leaflets and 1 million branded plastic bags. Stutz, Lausanne, Switzerland, handles.

[brussels-sept. 14] Sara Lee Corp. will open new operations in Russia and Mexico, designed to help sustain the company's 12% annual growth rate over the past three years. Chief Executive-Europe and South America Frank Meysman appointed two top marketing directors to head up the operations. Mark Maesen, marketing director for Belgium, flies to Moscow Oct. 1. Philippe Delbuey, at Sara Lee in Canada, moves to Mexico later this autumn. The Russian operation will concentrate initially on building on an existing export franchise for Pickwick, Sara Lee's main tea brand. Links with the BBDO Worldwide agency network in Russia will be maintained. That agency produced a TV spot for Pickwick in Russia last year.

[parma, italy-sept. 18] Pasta marketer Barilla filled two new panregional marketing positions with the appointment of Stefano Battioni and Dean Sanders. Mr. Battioni becomes marketing director for Barilla's U.S. operation. He previously headed up marketing in Italy. Mr. Battioni will report to General Manager Robert Black, who was put in charge of the region this summer, and his responsibilities may extend to Latin America and the Asia-Pacific. The move is part of the grand plan of Ed Artzt, the former Procter & Gamble Co. chairman who joined Barilla as executive director last fall, to build a truly global business. Mr. Sanders, former marketing controller for gift chocolates at Kraft Jacob Suchard's confectionery subsidiary Terry's Suchard in the U.K., will be Mr. Battioni's European equivalent.

[bombay-sept. 19] Barclaycard, MasterCard and American Express Co. could find their charge card business hard hit by new rules that increase the cost of using credit cards in India, one of their fastest growing markets. Maharashtra state has refused to go back on a decision to levy a 1% sales tax on all credit card transactions within the state, whose capital Bombay makes it the nation's most prosperous region. The ruling will also entail a 1% value added tax levy on each card transaction. Retailers are expected to pick up the tab initially, but cardholders will ultimately have to pay the extra. Other states may emulate the tax, which takes effect Oct. 1.

[london-sept. 19] The U.K. government's decision to remove restrictions on religious advertising came under fire as the Church of Scientology mounts its first TV campaign in the country. The commercials, which purport to advocate trust between peoples of all nations, are being telecast on satellite channels U.K. Gold and U.K. Living. But many commentators and anti-cult campaigners are up in arms that the Scientology movement is able to promote itself on U.K. TV.

[duesseldorf-sept. 14] HF&P here and Dentsu, Tokyo, formed a 50-50 joint venture to market Expo 2000, the 5-month-long world exposition due to take place in Hannover in 2000. HF&P/Dentsu aims to attract $700 million in sponsorship for the world's fair, from between 10 and 15 main sponsors. Dentsu is responsible for recruiting investors from Asia, HF&P will handle Europe and the partners recently signed Lucerne, Switzerland-based ISL (10% owned by Dentsu) to pull in sponsors from the U.S.

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