DDB buys stake in Moscow office, starts local network

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MOSCOW -- DDB Needham Worldwide has taken an equity stake in its Moscow affiliate Navigator and has begun building a network in Russia and in some CIS countries.

Navigator was founded in 1992 with Serguei Krivonogov as managing director, Vadim Malysh as finance director and Christophe Marchal as client services director. In 1994, Navigator started working on the account for French small appliance maker Moulinex at the same time DDB won the Moulinex worldwide account. The two agencies started working together in Moscow on the Moulinex account and later for DDB clients Digital, Mobil, McDonald's and Volkswagen.

Navigator for the past three years has been the exclusive representative agency of the DDB network in Moscow, and in Russia since early 1998. Now DDB has taken a stake in Navigator and has begun implementing a network with offices in Ukraine (Kiev), in Belarus (Minsk), Kazakhstan (Alma-Ata) and Georgia (Tbilissi). Also a shortterm plan is presently underway to implement Optimum Media, the DDB media arm, in Russia and some CIS countries.

In related news, Pharmacia & Upjohn has appointed BMP DDB, London, to handle the $40 million advertising account for its Nicorette smoking cessation patches, gum and inhaler products for the entire world outside North America. Bates Dorland, London, was the incumbent since 1991. The media planning and buying accounts remain with Zenith Media.

The account encompasses general brand-building work as well as product-specific campaigns and will draw upon creative, strategic planning and localization of global and regional campaigns.

Mats Hakansson, brand director of nicotine replacement therapy at Pharmacia & Upjohn, said: "We are determined to develop our international communications to match the scale of our international business, and advertising will play a major role in our future marketing plans. We are poised for a new phase of growth and were looking for a partner to help us develop a unique image for our brand."

Copyright June 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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