We have news for you: Sydney production company Pod Films is entering the controversial spot at next month's International Advertising Festival in Cannes.
U.S. cable companies have spent billions digging up U.K. streets but only about 22% of homes with access to cable TV agree to subscribe, compared to more than 65% in the U.S.-a major problem for international satellite channels trying to build U.K. audiences. Mike Hayes, former marketing director of Nintendo UK and now director of marketing at the Cable Communications Association, has finally persuaded cable operators to fund an $18 million ad campaign by J. Walter Thompson Co. to build awareness of cable TV and its benefits. Running this spring, ads use the theme "Cable-get connected" and star a popular U.K. comedian.
Travel and entertainment entrepreneur Richard Branson will stamp the Virgin brand next on low-price air travel in Europe, with his acquisition of Euro Belgian Airlines, to be renamed Virgin Express. Aiming at people who can't or won't pay Europe's overpriced airfares, Mr. Branson is getting in just ahead of deregulation of Europe's inefficient state carriers.
Most often-asked question about Danone: Will Chairman Antoine Riboud ever retire? (He's 77.) He's finally stepping aside for another Riboud, son Franck, 40, who moves up from VP after running Danone's cookie and beverage operations, including Evian mineral water and Kronenberg beer. Franck is part of a new wave of European scions about to take over some of Europe's biggest companies. Tipped to be next: Fiat heir Giovanni Agnelli, currently running the family motorcycle business.
U.K. tea drinkers are stubborn. Unilever and PepsiCo thought the world's biggest tea drinkers would be natural consumers of Liptonice iced tea, launched in Britain two years ago. But it turns out they only like it hot, and PepsiCo has decided to end distribution, blaming the "hot drink culture."
It's the end of an era at hippyish, environmentally friendly Body Shop. Out goes Jilly Forster, PR-oriented head of corporate style who hired Body Shop's first ad agency as communications consultants but didn't really want any ads. In comes former Mars marketing exec Sandra Pickering as head of marketing operations. Next hire is likely to be Body Shop's first international marketing director.
Our apologies to the pope and Leo Burnett. The agency should have gotten credit last month for the dynamic marketing program kicked off in April with Pope John Paul II's first appearance in a TV commercial. The Vatican hopes the TV and print ad campaign and direct marketing shots will sell 100,000 of those pope CD, photo and rosary bead packages in Europe this year.
PR people sometimes wonder why no one trusts them. Here's one reason: Burson-Marsteller is touting itself in press releases as "the world's leading perception management firm."
Contributing: Geoffrey Lee Martin, Sydney; Amy Barone, Milan; Bruce Crumley, Paris.