Brazilian portal recruits Y&R chief for key international post

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SAO PAULO--Internet Gratis (Portuguese for Free Internet), Brazil's first free online access service, has hired Paul Heath, managing director of Young & Rubicam here, to become international president responsible for recruiting subscribers outside Brazil. No successor has yet been appointed by Y&R Brazil President Waltely Longo.

Less than four months since its launch, IG has garnered $10 million in advertising revenue, a third of all Internet ad spend in Brazil last year, according to figures released by research institute IBOPE. With 1.4 million subscribers to date, IG is also the No. 2 Portal in the country, says IBOPE.

In a bid to further boost the number of subscribers, IG is to launch the dog which features in its advertising campaigns as a stuffed animal sold via the Internet operation of department store Lojas Americanas. It is also planning to sell other licensed products.

"I will turn IG into a portal of great value and audience, to take our culture and business to the four corners of the world", says IG CEO Nizan Guanaes, until recently CEO of Sao Paulo-based ad agency DM9 DDB Publicidade, which he founded 11 years ago and is today one of Brazil's best known agencies internationally. "Why can the Spanish have an international portal and we can't? Why is Argentina stronger than us in terms of business online?"

Copyright April 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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