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LONDON -- As widely predicted, Microsoft has appointed Bartle Bogle Hegarty as the lead European agency for Xbox, the future-generation video game console scheduled to launch in the region in early 2002.

No budget figures were available, but the account is likely to be worth a significant sum, given the estimated $500 million value of Xbox's North American business, handled by Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide.

Bartle Bogle will manage a network of affiliate agencies consisting of Louis XIV, Paris; Verbal DDB, Milan; Tandem DDB, Barcelona and McCann-Erickson, Frankfurt, all which are believed to have participated in an earlier pitch.

"This bespoke network gives us a strong, centralized lead agency, together with an equally strong local agencies, that are able to add value to the brand at a country level," said Harvey Eagle, Xbox European advertising manager.

Bartle Bogle last June resigned its $84 million, pan-European business for Sega's game console Dreamcast in order to pitch for the X-box business. "We're confident our pan-European brand-building experience, coupled with our passion for video games, will allow us to help Xbox make the impact it deserves in 2002," said Gwyn Jones, managing director of Bartle Bogle. -- Ali Qassim

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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