Independent Paris shop wins European credit account

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PARIS--Cetelem, the consumer credit arm of French bank BNP-Paribas, has given its estimated $20 million pan-European ad budget to Callegari Berville, Paris, putting to rest a nine-year association with Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide's French agency Alice, Paris. Lowe Lintas is a unit of Interpublic Group of Cos.

The independent shop scooped the account after a final pitch in mid-May against the Paris shops of Havas Advertising-owned Euro RSCG BETC and Omnicom Group-controlled BDDP@ TBWA. Previous stages of the competition also included former agency Alice, as well as the local shops of CLM/ BBDO and Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide.

Consumer credit is among the fastest-growing areas in financial services, and Cetelem has staked out a leading position, with activities in 16 countries worldwide. Cetelem controls 20% of France's consumer credit market, and manages a global portfolio of more than $15 billion in consumer loans.

The firm's principal product is the Carte Aurore credit card, 11 million of which are now in circulation across Europe, including eight million in France. Cetelem also offers point-of-sale credit plans for leading retailers, notably Carrefour-Promodes, the world's second largest retail company, with which it has arranged a globalpartnership.

The agency's first ads are expected by early fall. Media buying remains at Interpublic's Western International Media, Paris, Cetelem says.

Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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