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Visa reviews $20 mil in Asian ads

[singapore] Visa International is reviewing its estimated $20 million account in the Asia-Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand. Incumbent Saatchi & Saatchi and its media partner, Zenith Media, are competing against Omnicom Group units BBDO Worldwide and Optimum Media Direction, as well as Euro RSCG Worldwide and Motivator, the French network's alliance with WPP Group's MindShare. Motivator only handles Euro RSCG clients. Saatchi won the account from J. Walter Thompson Co. nearly three years ago. "This is a mandatory review," said one Saatchi executive close to the pitch. "We had a three-year contract, and now the client . . . is obligated to have a review at this time." BBDO handles the credit card giant's U.S. account, while Saatchi handles Visa in Europe. Euro RSCG was invited to pitch after handling small projects for Visa around the region.

OMD wins Dutch gov't media account

[amsterdam] The Dutch government handed Omnicom Group's Optimum Media Direction its media budget, worth more than $90 million. Nine agencies pitched against OMD for the biggest media account in the Netherlands.

Italian Web site enlists Ask Jeeves

[rome] Italia Online, in an effort to reach some of Italy's less Internet-adept users, signed an agreement with U.S.-based search engine Ask Jeeves. The deal is the first for Ask Jeeves in Italian. The company is popular in English-speaking countries for directing users to relevant Web pages in response to questions presented in plain English, though Ask Jeeves now also supports software in nine languages. Italia Online ( is owned by telco Infostrada, and attracts about 110 million hits a month, making it the second most visited Web site in the country, according to Onetone Research.

Coke's QuaAtro enters Venezuela

[caracas] Coca-Cola Co. is unveiling a $7 million campaign from McCann-Erickson Worldwide here to introduce QuaAtro in Venezuela, as Coca-Cola continues to roll out the new soft drink in the region. Aimed at the young adult market, the launch includes sampling on an unprecedented scale, said Marketing Manager Ximena Rodriguez. Coca-Cola expects QuaAtro to garner 5% of the country's soft-drink market by the end of the year.

CBS Sportsline looks to Asiacontent

[seoul] CBS asked to adapt its sports Web site service for Asian countries, starting with Singapore and South Korea. The sports Web site offering content from around the world is being translated into local languages and supplemented with local sports reporting.

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