CHUNNEL BREAKS ADS THOUGH OFFICIAL OPENING REMAINS UNCERTAIN

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LONDON-Eurotunnel, the Anglo-French company operating the much-heralded but much-troubled Channel Tunnel rail service under the English Channel, starts advertising for passengers this week.

Queen Elizabeth and French President Francois Mitterand inaugurated the Chunnel in May, but regular passenger service has been dogged by delays, most recently by reports of sea water leaking into the tunnel.

The company began running a freight service from Folkestone, England, to Calais, France, in May.

The tunnel is slated to open to passengers Nov. 14, but the official debut depends on when Eurotunnel receives a green light from the U.K. government's Safety Authority.

Schedules for ad campaigns promoting Le Shuttle Passenger and Eurostar, Eurotunnel's two passenger services, were also affected. The delays earlier caused Eurotunnel to halt a $37.5 million spring ad campaign that was to run in France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the U.K.

BMP DDB Needham Worldwide is handling the campaign for Eurotunnel and its Folkestone-to-Calais Le Shuttle service.

The agency said uncertainty about the opening made it difficult to decide whether the first campaign will concentrate on only the opening or promote the full range of services offered.

One ad awaiting Eurotunnel's approval is an announcement in the Financial Times on whatever day service begins. Young & Rubicam is handling creative and media buying for Eurostar.

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