Slow sponsorship sales for Hannover world's fair

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HANNOVER -- Expo 2000, the five-month long world exposition due to take place in Hannover in 2000, is refuting local press reports that it's unhappy with the selling of sponsorship packages for the world's fair. In September 1996, the Expo 2000 organizers gave a joint venture formed by Duesseldorf-based HF&P and Japan's Dentsu the task of attracting $650m in sponsorship to help underwrite the event. HF&P is responsible for Europe, while Dentsu handles Asia. The joint venture assigned Lucerne, Switzerland-based ISL (10% owned by Dentsu) to pull in sponsors from the U.S.

Earlier this week the monthly magazine Manger Magazin reported that the Expo organizers were looking for another agency to take over from HF&P because not many sponsors had signed up. Those who have signed up as a Global Partner (agreeing to pay $20m in cash or services) include Deutsche Telekom, Siemens-Nixdorf, the Dutch company Baan and most recently CMA Bonn, the German agricultural marketing association. Expo 2000 had hoped to sign up 10 to 15 Global Partners. In total, the joint venture has sold $110m in sponsorship packages. Not included in that figure are the two Product Partners - Deutsche Bank and the German Railways - which Expo 2000 signed up for an undisclosed about before the HF&P/Dentsu agreement.

Spokesmen for Expo 2000 did not return phone calls from the Daily World Wire at press time, but the organization told the German wire service Uwe Brodbeck: "In the past we have concentrated our efforts too much on the big industry, but we back our agency, though we think that our initial concept has to be overhauled."

Critics say promoting Expo 2000 is an uphill fight because Hannover isn't Germany's most popular spot with tourists.

Copyright September 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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