Income, billings up 15.1% at Havas
[paris] Havas Advertising reported gross income rose 15.1% to $497 million for the six months ended June 30, vs. the same period last year. Billings also rose 15.1%, to $3.3 billion. Account wins, including work from Dell Computer Corp., H.J. Heinz Co., Universal Studios and Virgin Net, and a boom in new-media work helped boost performance in the period, Havas said. Havas recently announced the successful conversion of its convertible bonds and said that has freed up funds for acquisitions. Havas operates four main units: the Euro RSCG, Campus and Mediapolis networks, and a Diversified agencies unit.
Cordiant gains full control of Aussie group
[sydney] Cordiant Communications Group paid $19 million to gain full ownership of the Communications Group, Australia's biggest advertising company. Cordiant already owned 75.1% of the holding company for ad agencies Campaign Palace, George Patterson Bates and Zenith Media. Communications Group companies bill more than $1 billion.
Saatchi now owns all of Indian shop
[bombay] Saatchi & Saatchi bought total control of its Indian affiliate, becoming only the second foreign ad agency, after McCann-Erickson Worldwide, to completely own a shop in India. Saatchi signed a deal to buy the 90% of Sista Saatchi & Saatchi it did not already own. Agency Chairman Bobby Sista relinquished his interest in favor of Saatchi. Sista Saatchi is expected to close fiscal 1999 with estimated billings of $25 million, half of which were garnered through new account wins this year.
Tobacco marketers rap British Columbia law
[vancouver] Canada's tobacco marketers vow to continue an ad campaign attacking new provincial anti-tobacco legislation. Lawmakers in British Columbia have hit tobacco marketers with a $13 million licensing fee, which the new rules say can't be recouped by a price hike. Page ads from the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers' Council are running in major daily newspapers in British Columbia, criticizing the move as simply another tax hike and "a dangerous precedent" of price controls. McLaughlan Group, Toronto, handles. Spending could reach $1 million, and the council promises to keep up its advertising as long as needed to make its point. The council represents marketers Imperial Tobacco, RJR-Macdonald and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges.
U.K. watchdog slams Kellogg cereal ad
[manchester, england] A U.K. watchdog rapped Kellogg Co. of GB for a print ad that, the group contended, exploited parents' and children's insecurities about overweight kids. Children's charity Kidscape and members of the public complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about the ad, which showed an overweight schoolboy under the line, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names could really hurt me." The accompanying text read: "One of the most common causes of bullying in school is being fat. . . . Of course, a cereal breakfast like Kellogg's can't solve complex weight problems, but in its own small way it can really help." The watchdog ruled that the wording "simplified and trivialized bullying and the solutions to it," and asked Kellogg not to repeat that approach.
Japan's Shiseido to enter Poland
[tokyo] Shiseido Co. arrives in Poland next month, its fourth entry in the Eastern European market. Japan's leading cosmetics marketer will conduct sales in Poland through local company Optimum Distributors. Shiseido is aiming for just under $1 million in sales at 40 stores by 2000.
Levi Strauss touts affordability in India
[bombay] Levi Strauss (India) is breaking a new campaign from McCann-Erickson India, Bangalore, that attempts to discard its upscale image in favor of an affordable perception. A new line of jeans for young men and women is positioned as offering reasonably priced products with the Levi's cachet. Levi Strauss is India's No. 3 premium brand in the local denim market and projects sales of $12.5 million for 1998.
Wunderman Euro chief Matthies to quit
[frankfurt] Helmut Matthies, president-CEO of Young & Rubicam-owned Wunderman Cato Johnson Europe, is quitting the company after almost 18 years. Mr. Matthies, in line to benefit substantially from Y&R's offering on the New York Stock Exchange last May, will continue at least until the end of this year. His successor is currently being sought. "My job at WCJ has nearly come to completion," Mr. Matthies said. "I'm very proud of this success story, but I also have the feeling I need new challenges." Since Mr. Matthies took over the helm as president-CEO for Europe in 1995, Wunderman has doubled its income there to $130 million.
Mexico uncovers gear for counterfeiting shoes
[mexico city] What apparently began as a search for drugs has become a stroke of luck for major shoe marketers, as Mexican authorities uncovered material and equipment for setting up a counterfeit footwear factory. Government inspectors in the port of Manzanillo found metal presses, plastic molds and shoe samples in three containers on a ship that had arrived from Guatemala. They seized seven presses with the Nike logo and another seven with Reebok's, along with plastic molds of brands including Adidas, Fila, Nike and Reebok. "Counterfeiting in Mexico is something that is way out of control, and the government is not doing much to support industry," said Eduardo Casas, marketing director for Nike Mexico.
Egypt advertises opera `Aida' to boost tourism
[cairo] Egypt launched a major international marketing campaign to lure tourists and opera buffs to the pyramids next month for gala performances of "Aida," the Verdi opera that premiered in Cairo more than a century ago. The five-month, $900,000 blitz includes spots on CNN and Euro News, and posters in international airports. "We want to make people forget what happened in Luxor," said Mohammed El Banna, president of Blue Nile Inc., the Egyptian concert producers spearheading the campaign, referring to the killing of 58 foreign tourists by Islamic militants in the southern town last year. The Egyptian tourism industry took a nose-dive after that. Blue Nile created the "Aida" ads and hired IP Networks, Paris, and Egypt's Impact BBDO to handle media.
Star TV, MGM sign deal to air movies in Asia
[hong kong] News Corp.'s Star TV entered into an exclusive, multiyear agreement with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, in which Star TV will exclusively telecast new theatrical product from both MGM and United Artists, in addition to a selection of library titles. It is the first output deal for feature films that MGM has signed with any pay-TV service in Asia since it withdrew the MGM Gold branded channel from the territory earlier this year.
Kreiz named president of Fox Kids Europe
[london] Ynon Kreiz has been promoted to the new post of president of Fox Kids Europe. Mr. Kreiz has been managing director of Fox Kids Europe since its launch in January 1997. Before Fox Kids Europe, Mr. Kreiz was senior VP-business development at Saban Entertainment, where he played a part in structuring the strategic alliance between Fox Broadcasting Co. and Saban, which led to the creation of Fox Family Worldwide, a joint venture between News Corp. and Saban. Separately, Christopher Erbes was appointed director of programming and channel development at Fox Kids Europe. Mr. Erbes had been a consultant to the company. Previously, he was deputy managing director and head of programming at Nickelodeon Germany.
Turner channel to use Hindustani
[bombay] Turner Broadcasting System next year will introduce Hindustani-language programming blocks on its TNT & Cartoon Network channel. Starting Jan. 4, the Cartoon Network feed to India will feature programs dubbed in the national language of Hindustani between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on weekends. The satellite channel also broadcasts programs in Mandarin for Chinese audiences, Thai for Thailand and English for the rest. India, however, will continue to get a dual audio track for the channel. In areas where English is preferred, the local cable system will offer the feed in that language. India provides one of the largest audiences in Asia for TNT & Cartoon Network.