[beijing-oct. 12] Chinese fast-food chain Hangzhou Nanfang Dabao (Big Steamed Stuffed Bun) Co. is gearing up to match the market share of all its foreign competitors combined within two years. The company has already been courted as a joint venture partner by more than 10 foreign chains. McDonald's Corp. has also attempted to buy its well-known Mi Zhong brand. But all approaches have failed because Wang Renxiao, general manager of the Hangzhou company, has refused to transfer the Mi Zhong brand to foreign partners. The Hangzhou company's ambitious two-year plan is to grab one-third of China's fast-food market, the proportion currently accounted for by foreign fast-food companies. Hangzhou expects its 1996 sales to hit $3 million, more than doubling 1995 income due to rapid expansion in outlets.
[mexico city-oct. 15] Unilever, one of Mexico's top five advertisers, will pull its advertising from Grupo Televisa and run commercials exclusively on upstart Television Azteca next year. The announcement of the unprecedented arrangement is the latest, most powerful salvo in a war between the two TV networks. Televisa has long dominated broadcasting in Mexico-it is the nation's largest media company and the world's leading Spanish-language broadcaster. Azteca was launched only three years ago as a product of President Carlos Salinas de Gortari's privatization program. Olevander Straaten, president of Unilever's Mexican operation, claimed that Azteca is Mexico's broadcaster of the future. Neither he nor Azteca would reveal the size of the contract, but the marketer's annual ad spending is about $18 million in Mexico. A spokesman for Azteca said Mr. Straaten and Ricardo Salinas Pliego, president and major shareholder of the network, are well-acquainted with each other and that Mr. Salinas Pliego played a major role in negotiating the contract. Azteca pointed to the fact that, unlike Televisa, it bases its commercial rates on program ratings. Also, it bills its clients every three months, while Televisa charges for the entire year. Azteca claimed some advertisers are beginning to rebel against Televisa. Azteca ad revenue for 1996 is expected to produce net earnings of $70 million.
[london-oct. 17] Greenpeace International on Oct. 16 mounted a Europewide protest against Unilever over its plans to use genetically altered soybeans in food products. The day of protest was part of a campaign targeting large food manufacturers ahead of the widespread use of such products. Unilever is first on Greenpeace's list of targets as one of the biggest users of soybeans. The environmental campaigners met in June with Unilever, Nestle and Danone "to try to influence major players in the food market," said campaigner Douglas Parr. Greenpeace wants products containing genetically manipulated beans labeled as such and wants some products kept free of the beans. The first products containing the ingredient could be on Europe's supermarket shelves before the end of the year. Genetically manipulated beans this year will make up 1% to 2% of the U.S. soybean crop, 30% of which will go to Europe.
[munich-oct. 17] Home Shopping Network has taken a 29% stake in Germany's Home Order Television, which first brought TV shopping to the country last year. HSN will pass on its expertise to the fledgling German channel. Home Order Television predicts sales of $60 million this year from 75,000 customers.
[london-oct. 15] Kimberly-Clark Corp. will centralize its media buying and planning with a single agency in each of its four main countries in Europe. The company last year spent $69 million across these four markets. Gesellschaft fur Media-Optimierung will handle Germany; John Ayling & Associates, the U.K.; the Network ( Ogilvy & Mather), France; and Universal Media, the Netherlands. Previously, the Network and Optimedia's More Media split the business in Germany, while in the U.K. Ayling split the account with Universal. In France, the Network held the account, while in the Netherlands the Media Partnership and Universal split the account.
[london-oct. 15] Bozell Worldwide restructured its international new-business operation to tie it more closely to the U.S., where the agency hopes to pick up multinational business that will extend into other regions. The majority of Bozell's clients are U.S. companies, but as Richard Hammond, senior VP-international operations, noted: "Sixty percent of the world's multinationals are U.S.-based. We want to leverage much more off our U.S. business and structure ourselves on a more global basis." Mr. Hammond is now overseeing non-U.S. new-business activity. Part of his previous responsibilities will be taken on by David Hall, previously European business development director, who will work on building the network through affiliates in the new position of associate agency development director for international operations. Two marketing directors, for European operations and Asian operations, have been recruited. Kumar Vaidyanathan joins as London-based European marketing director, from MAA, Bozell's partner agency in India. Scott Garrett moves from London-based Delaney Fletcher Bozell to run the Asian new-business effort from Hong Kong. Vivien Lee, who headed the Asian division, has left Bozell.
[hong kong-oct. 16] Satellite TV network NBC Asia moved Asia-Pacific advertising to M&C Saatchi from J. Walter Thompson Co. Prime mover behind the switch is Ann Tsang, NBC Asia's new marketing and communications manager, who said M&C Saatchi was selected for its "fresh and lively, yet sophisticated approach." NBC Asia President S.K. Fung said there had been a 200% increase in ad revenue in the third quarter of 1996 compared with the same period last year. These results are attributed mainly to CNBC, NBC's business channel, launched in June 1995.
[stockholm-oct. 16] Modern Times Group, the Kinnevik-controlled media company that operates the pan-Nordic entertainment TV channels TV1000, TV1000 Cinema and TV3, is starting its own digital ad agency for the Nordic countries. Company officials said the primary intention is to specialize in ads targeting Internet and CD-ROM users. The new agency, called Electric Art, is forecasting first-year revenue of $3 million. "The key reason for starting the digital ad agency is that we see a gap in the marketplace between people who know the technical side of computers and communications and those less familiar, such as ad agency and marketing staff," said Electric Art Creative Manager Arne Thorbeck. "We will start by servicing the needs of Kinnevik's own companies," Mr. Thorbeck added.
[paris-oct. 16] French supermarket chain Leclerc is doing its part to educate the French about the planned single European currency, the Euro. This week and next week, Leclerc will price 200 products in 500 of its stores in both francs and in the Euro. During those two weeks, shoppers can exchange their francs for Euro coins especially manufactured for this exercise. Also, each shopper will be handed a leaflet explaining the Euro when he passes through the checkout line. The dual pricing campaign will be supported by a radio and outdoor ad campaign. The single European currency is scheduled to be introduced by 1999.
[london-oct. 17] Porsche is supporting the U.K. launch of the Boxster, the first totally new Porsche in 18 years, with a "mystery" computer screen saver that users must update to solve. The Porsche Boxster World Time Zone program for PCs will be cover-mounted on 500,000 computer magazines. The screen saver can also be downloaded from Porsche's Internet site (http://www.porsche.co
.u.k). A public relations campaign will promote both the Internet site and a direct response number to call for a free disk. U.K.-based Global Beach designed the program in the form of a mystery ad featuring exclusive footage of the Porsche Boxster. The program comes in two parts and on Dec. 5 a transmission will bring together all the elements and mystery in a 30-second video, available on one floppy disk or by downloading from the Internet site.