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Olympics inspire Adidas vignettes

[herzogenaurach, germany] Adidas-Salomon is airing globally 12 2-minute Olympic-theme comedy vignettes as programming on ESPN, Eurosport and terrestrial channels in Australia, Finland, Hong Kong and Hungary. The shorts will run until the kickoff of the Summer Games in an attempt to cut through Olympic clutter. The "Road to Sydney" vignettes contain no reference to Adidas but feature its athlete endorsers who will be competing in the Games, clad in Adidas clothing. "This is not an ad campaign. . . . It's a movement toward more human, more inclusive and more implicit advertising," said Adidas Global Media Manager Jason Dawes, who admitted previous Adidas communication has been criticized for being "serious, dark and Germanic." The programs are separate from Adidas' Olympic-theme global ad campaign breaking Aug. 15 via Amsterdam agency 180. That shop and media buyer Carat International handled "The Road to Sydney."

P&G to test magazine in France

[paris] Procter & Gamble Co. is working with BDDP-owned Textual here to test a general-interest women's magazine likely to launch in France later this year. A P&G France spokesman wouldn't divulge the company's specific plans for the new magazine, tentatively called Mieux (Better), but confirmed the publication is "currently in a testing phase." The magazine is believed to cover conventional topics featured in women's magazines, with prominent placement of P&G brands and products, as well as traditional advertising.

Hakuhodo creates Internet boutique

[tokyo] Hakuhodo has created Internet shop Hakuhodo i-studio. Japan's No. 2 agency forecasts $2.25 million in billings by the end of March 2001 for the new boutique. "With Hakuhodo i-studio, Hakuhodo now provides a streamlined operation able to handle bundled orders for planning, creative design, site operations, analytical and other interactive marketing-related functions," the company said in a statement.

Italy to spawn top Net co. in Europe

[rome] Italian antitrust authorities gave their OK to a merger that experts say will create the largest Internet company in Europe. Analysts say the company created by the merger of Tin.it, the Internet unit of former Italian state telephone monopoly Telecom Italia, and Internet powerhouse Seat Pagine Gialle will be worth between $30 billion and $50 billion when spun off from Telecom Italia. Authorities decided that because of the dynamic nature of Internet-related companies, any Internet dominance by the new entity would be short-lived.

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