French retail giant awards launch account to Euro RSCG BETC

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PARIS--Leading French retailer Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR) has tapped Havas Advertising-owned Euro RSCG BETC, Paris, for the $2 million launch business of its new sporting goods and apparel mega-store Citadium.

The appointment follows a three-way pitch including the Paris-basedshops of DDB Worldwide and Louis XIV, both divisions of the U.S.-based Omnicom Group.

The flagship Citadium store, an 8,500-square-meter emporium in the heart of Paris that PPR officials refer to as a "`brand temple," is scheduled to open in November.

Unlike leading French sporting good chains Decathlon and Go Sport, Citadium will not sell clothing under an in-house brand. Instead, it will focus on developing an approach so that brands such as Adidas, Nike and Reebok co-exist in an environment propelled by their own marketing.

Each of the store's four floors will be devoted to a different theme: one entitled "street" will focus on hip, youth-oriented sports such as roller-blading; an "athletics"-themed floor will focus on traditional sports, including jogging, soccer and tennis; a surf/snowboard floor will alternate with the seasons; and a final "outdoor"-themed floor will focus on apparel and supplies for camping, hiking and other nature pursuits.

PPR is no stranger to the sporting goods sector, as it already operates a handful of Made in Sport shops nationwide. The company also owns top books and music retailer FNAC, household furnishings distributor Conforama and leading Paris department store Printemps.

DDB, Paris, is lead agency on the massive PPR account and was considered the front-runner to land the Citadium launch. Losing the account to Euro RSCG BETC is the least of its worries, however. PPR has also begun formalizing a new agency competition on the FNAC advertising budget, valued at more than $15 million in paid media, which DDB, Paris, has managed for the past eight years.

Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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