AD AGE'S WORLD WIRE: WPP'S '96 PROFITS SOAR 35%: SAATCHI ABSORBS K ADVERTISING: JWT WINS GLOBAL RIMMEL BUSINESS: AUSSIES EYE BURGER KING NAME: U.K. YELLOW PAGES TO SELL WEB ADS

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[london] WPP Group's profits grew by 35% in 1996 to $246 million on revenues of $2.89 billion, an 8.8% increase, the company announced. WPP reported operating margins increased to 10.8%, although individual agency margins are much better at 13.4% for Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and 15.2% for J. Walter Thompson Co. Developing markets expanded as Asia/Pacific, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Central Europe now account for 20% of WPP's revenue, up from 11% six years ago, the company said. For 1997, WPP is forecasting revenue growth of 6%.

[london] Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising has merged its London ad agency K Advertising into the agency. K Advertising had 1996 billings of $48 million and primarily serviced U.K. clients, although it is the German sports shoe brand Puma's global soccer agency. Hamish Pringle, chairman of K Advertising, becomes vice chairman-marketing director of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising.

[london] Coty, the cosmetics and fragrance division of Benckiser Group, has appointed J. Walter Thompson Co. as its creative development agency for Rimmel cosmetics across the world after a four-way pitch, which included Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Ammirati Puris Lintas and Testa International. The Rimmel budget in the U.K. alone is likely to rise from the $6.5 million spent last year as a Unilever-owned brand to more than $9.7 million under Coty's ownership. JWT is working on a 1998 repositioning of Rimmel.

[melbourne] Burger King, franchised under the Hungry Jack's trademark in Australia, is considering switching its name to Burger King to capitalize on its strong U.S. branding, according to Marc Gough, Burger King director of marketing, Asia-Pacific. Research has discovered there is a surprising 80% brand awareness of Burger King in Australia, driven by product placement in U.S. films. Also prompting the change is a marketing deal signed last year between the U.S. parent company and the Shell gas station chain. Hungry Jack's advertising is handled by Hertz Walpole.

[london] Yellow Pages, the directory of U.K. businesses owned by British Telecommunications, is to start selling ads on its Web site. The site (http://www.yell.co.uk), which incorporates Electronic Yellow Pages, has achieved more than 1 million page views per month-a performance the company claims makes it one of the U.K.'s top performing Web sites. From April, U.K. advertisers will have the chance to advertise on EYP, with options ranging from

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