Someone should tell the French that comparative advertising is legal in their country. Catalog marketer Trois Suisses is still trying to figure out why a 12,000-billboard ad campaign promoting its new guaranteed 24-hour delivery service (clearly speedier than competitor La Redoute's 48-hour service) has been banned as unfair by a French court. If Trois Suisses repeats the crime, the company will be fined $100,000 per billboard.
More unfair advertising: In India, mobile phone operator Hutchison Max Telecom thought "Citizen of the world" made a punchy advertising slogan. Until rival BPL Systems & Projects hit back in ads: "With a mobile phone you're a citizen of the world, till the phone goes out of order." They meet in court in November.
For anyone still confused about what is acceptable advertising, Christopher Ogden, deputy director general of the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority, will talk at the International Advertising Association lunch in London this week about the rise of "yobbish" advertising that deliberately shocks. He says it's unlikely the ASA, which banned a Calvin Klein ad of nude, waifish model Kate Moss last year, would allow the new Calvin Klein "kiddie porn" ads, just pulled in the U.S.
USA Today International distributes ballots this month for its first International Travel Awards. A. Zoltan Vardy, the paper's marketing manager, says readers will pick their favorites in 33 categories like best hotel chain in Asia, best car rental company in Europe and best laptop computer. Winners in November. Finding a best African airline may be tough.
Now jaded international festival goers have something completely different to look forward to. The Golden Drum International Ad Festival of the New Europe promises its attendees next month in Portoroz, Slovenia-out of shelling distance from Bosnia-"an eccentric midnight party next to the sea between the archaic walls of the old Saltworks Complex and the aromatic heaps of freshly harvested salt." And we thought Cannes was fun!
Bruce Crumley, Jan Jaben and Normandy Madden contributed to this column.