AGENCIES ADD AMERICAN TOUCH 'TO ANY PRODUCT, ANY CULTURE': CITIBANK, DANONE EXPAND THEIR BRAND FRANCHISES

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The stagnant waters in some parts of the world economy stop at the boundaries of U.S. international marketing services.

At a surge of 25.9% in non-U.S. gross income to $1.19 billion, the U.S. agencies covered in this Advertising Age report grew faster than their rapidly growing domestic operations.

Of the total, the direct marketing accounted for $946.6 million in gross income, up 22.7%, and sales promotion, $244.2 million, up 40%.

DRIVING BUSINESS

The spread of American marketers around the world continues to drive this business. Rapp Collins Worldwide, New York, up 10.4% to $146.2 million for 1998 non-U.S. gross income, is now split 50-50 between U.S. and foreign business -- the latter handled by 52 offices in 29 countries, including a recently opened office in Caracas, Venezuela.

Wunderman Cato Johnson, New York, regards international as a good growth area, emphasizing its established presence through 66 offices in 41 countries -- a global spread attractive to Citibank, which handed Wunderman Cato Johnson its global effort to pull in new credit-card members. Ranked No. 1 on the international chart, Wunderman rose 17.5% to $182.9 million in 1998 non-U.S. revenue.

Promotion and direct dovetail in Wunderman's work on the branded dairy products, Evian and Volvic mineral waters, and Lu cookies and crackers for French company Danone.

To build Danone dairy sales and assemble customer information, Wunderman created a bingo game that encourages additional buys and prepared a magazine, Danone, with subscribers being entered into the company database.

Wunderman contends the combination of food and recreation is helping extend customer commitment.

MRM Worldwide, New York, bought Gillespie, Princeton, N.J., last year and is tying the database development and management strengths plus Internet direct response production capabilities of Gillespie into its international network of 35 offices in 30 countries. MRM Worldwide grew 20.5% in non-U.S. revenue.

TRANSLATE ABROAD

U.S. marketing services agencies are finding the home-front techniques of direct response and sales promotion translating well abroad.

"Direct can be used to market any product in any culture," states Andrew Cohen, president of Direct Resource International, New York, a direct marketing house that is 55% broadcast, 40% interactive. DRI has prepared direct programs in seven languages in seven countries: Brazil, Italy, U.K., Germany, Netherlands, France and Mexico.

Since the mid-'90s, DRI has used its direct skills to market clinical medications internationally. In Holland, it is using direct to guide citizen refugees from the financially overburdened deregulating government pension and insurance systems into private insurance.

In another case of government deregulation, Wiken Promotion & Advertising, based in Wayzata, Minn., is working to help establish private telecommunications in the Czech Republic. Working with EuroTel to promote a new commercial mobile system, Wiken allied with Wunderman's Czech office for translation and office support and preparation of promotion materials.

FOREGOING SMALLER JOBS

Omnicom Group's Alcone Marketing Group, Irvine, Calif., is at the point it must forego smaller business in favor of global accounts, claims Chairman-CEO Matthew Alcone.

"We have the machinery for large global business, and a lot more companies are interested in it," says Mr. Alcone, listing among them Unilever, Sega Enterprises and Coldwell Banker.

No. 3 international player at $148.1 million, up 37.9%, was the newly constituted Brann Worldwide, a Snyder Communications group headquartered in Cirencester, U.K. The units' foundation is 30-year-old Brann Ltd. in the U.K., to which Bethesda-based Snyder added two more English shops and a Belgian company and its American holdings. Operations are largely direct with some sales

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