Top French Internet site launches $3 million campaign

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PARIS--Multimania, a leading French Internet site, is launching a $3 million advertising campaign aimed at increasing its client base and boosting its brand image with the general public.

The campaign is handled by Havas Advertising's Euro RSCG Works. "Conventional wisdom has held that multi-media and the Internet will spell the end of traditional media, but we see just the opposite happening," says Yves del Frate, co-CEO of Euro RSCG Works. "Multimediacompanies need traditional media to get their message out."

The campaign will include six 15-second TV spots based on actual Web pages hosted by, France's largest Internet community site, with some 2.3 million personal Web pages. The humorous spots aim to reveal the "human" side of MultiMania's Web community, which includes personal pages, chat rooms, e-mail and electronic commerce attracting more than 400,000 visitors a day.

The ads, to run nationwide through Oct. 24, depict a believer in UFOs, a group of extremely shy men, a music fanatic, a cult of leek-worshippers, an anti-sandal brigade and a couple who adopt a tuna, all of which are based on real sites or pages found in the MultiMania community.

The ads' endline is: "If you too believe in UFOs/If you too are a music lover/If you too hate sandals...Say it on the Internet. MultiMania, the community site."

Created in 1995 by two French expatriates in California's Silicon Valley, MultiMania has attracted a $10 million capital infusion from high-power investors led by chipmaker Intel Corp. and French bank Paribas. It is preparing an initial public offering of stock for 2000.

Company officials say that 1999 revenues will top $1.6 million -- 80% of which is derived from ad sales. They do not predict profitability before 2001.

Copyright October 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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