Sweden, Finland and Austria voted to join the EU, bringing total membership to 15 and uniting a teeming region of 375 million.
Marketers have the advantage of a wider market, but one with unified rules and one import duty as opposed to several when the countries operated separately. That has freed money for advertising.
Finland's Nokia telecommunications group, already in 40 countries, is gearing up for the pan-European market and will appoint an ad agency to handle its first corporate ad campaign and hire its first-ever international marketing director this year.
Grey Business Worldwide, London, the company's mobile phone agency, is in the running for the pan-European business. Nokia spends an estimated $14 million in the U.K. alone.
"Now that we are going into the EU, we will use corporate advertising to market our products as coming under one umbrella," said a spokesman for Nokia, which also sells satellite dishes and cable and telecommunications equipment.
Sweden joining the EU gives Volvo, the carmaker with a 2% share of the European automobile market, a much sought-after expansion base.
Sweden-based Electrolux has long planned to heighten its pan-European advertising to establish its brand name in a larger market. The appliances marketer currently uses Bates Europe, London, as its pan-European agency.
"The extension of the EU will speed up ... a convergence of consumer tastes across borders," said Michael Olsson, brand manager for Electrolux Europe, Pordonne, Italy. "I believe that the future strategy of the Electrolux brand therefore will be less country-based [and more] consumer-segment based."