Italian politician Giulio Andreotti stars in Diners Club ad

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ROME--Giulio Andreotti, a perennial Italian prime minister and one of only a small handful of senators for life, is the spokesman in the new campaign from Armando Testa for DiNetClub, the Diners Club International Web site.

"Involving a personality like Giulio Andreotti makes the Diners Club campaign instantly interesting," says an official at a rival advertising company. Mr. Andreotti is a controversial figure in Italian politics dating back to the end of World War II.

Italian advertising has featured many international celebrities recently -- ranging from Woody Allen, Marlon Brando and Nelson Mandela for communications giant Telecom Italia to Harrison Ford and Catherine Zeta Jones for automobile brands controlled by Fiat. But Mr. Andreotti is the first important Italian politician to jump on the bandwagon. The campaign is also thought to be the first time Mr. Andreotti has publicly endorsed a private sector product.

The campaign, which doesn't specifically refer to the content of the new site, is running only in Italy in newspapers, magazines, radio and outdoor. It plays on one of Andreotti's best known quotes -- "Power wears out those who don't have it" -- with the phrase "The Internet wears out those who don't have it."

Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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