Absent from Cannes: Colgate-Palmolive's lawyers ordered Australian production company Pod Films to prevent screening at Cannes of a spot Pod entered for Colgate's leading UV sunblock cream. Colgate pulled the light-hearted spot from Australian TV when the company's horrified U.S. execs realized it starred black men jokingly comparing their skin with its natural melanin to white skin. But you can't win. For applying U.S. political correctness to an ad Australians didn't seem to mind (there were five complaints), a prominent local columnist dubbed the episode "an act of cultural imperialism by a group of foreign executives."
Philip Morris, on the other hand, isn't politically correct at all. The U.S. cigarette marketer is kicking off another smokers' rights campaign in Europe this month, this time ridiculing the dangers of passive smoking as European governments increasingly clamp down on smoking in public. Obnoxious print ads make silly comparisons between the dangers of, for example, putting pepper on food and passive smoking.
Advertising was more exciting in China before the government cracked down on outlandish ad claims and Colgate, Procter & Gamble and Unilever entered the market with sober product benefits like preventing tooth decay. One local toothpaste brand claimed to make hair grow, prompting the question: Did they use the same ad agency as Philip Morris?
Golf fanatics Richard McClean and James McLeod noticed there aren't many opportunities to play golf at airports. So the International Herald Tribune's publisher and international ad director are sponsoring a putting green in Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic clubhouse (other airlines just have lounges) at London's Heathrow airport. Serious players may be distracted by IHT flags, banners and front pages plastered around the holes.
As Miami grows as a Latin American media hub, more ad agencies are locating Latin American media directors there. The latest arrival is Irving Plonskier, who has just moved to Miami from London in the new post of media director, Latin America, for Young & Rubicam.
The hot international trend in makeup is the growth of professional makeup artist brands, with their alluring range of wearable colors and attention to teaching hapless customers what to wear and how to apply it. The star brand is MAC, bought by Estee Lauder last year. MAC reportedly outsells all other brands at chic London department store Harvey Nichols. Next step: MAC will open its own stores this year in Paris and Milan, with Berlin and Tokyo to follow next year.
A striking difference between real ad agencies and ones set up by students in the first InterAd student ad competition: The students picked much better names. Ad agencies tend to simply string together the last names of key players. The students came up with The Nine Marketeers from Cairo; the U.K.'s Real Advertising & Marketing (RAM), and the winning team-Budapest's hypnos advertising. The contest is featured on page I-10.M
Contributing: Geoffrey Lee Martin, Sydney; Jeffery D. Zbar, Miami; Janine Stein, Hong Kong; Alice Cuneo, San Francisco.