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TOKYO -- WPP Group-owned media buying and planning specialist MindShare Japan is practicing what it preaches, implementing a bold media initiative to promote itself to clients.

In a contra-deal, partly in exchange for media services on a Ford dealer project, MindShare has taken delivery of a new Ford Escape and branded it the "MindCar."

This promotional vehicle -- unusual among media agencies -- is custom-painted in MindShare purple and sports big white corporate logos, along with the tagline "Japan's leading media specialist" and the address of its newly launched Web site (www.mindshare.co.jp.).

"We were considering marketing activities to promote ourselves to clients and media owners, and to communicate our creative approach to media," said Mark Patterson, CEO of MindShare Japan. As the agency's distinctive corporate color is "made for a visual medium," a billboard on wheels makes sense, he added.

While liveried media are still a rarity here, cash-strapped metropolitan buses are now also riding the trend, getting decked out as rolling advertisements on Tokyo's streets.

But MindShare doesn't intend its PR assault to end there. "We hope our next developments will be the 'MindCopter' and 'MindYacht.'" said Mr. Patterson. -- Campbell Gray

Copyright May 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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