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Saatchi wins Euro launch of Lloyds online bank

[london] U.K. banking giant Lloyds TSB awarded Saatchi & Saatchi here the $37.5 million European launch of its stand-alone Internet bank (evolvebank.com). Saatchi already handles the main bank's $45 million corporate account. The first phase of the campaign will focus on the U.K. and Spain this year, and France, Germany and Italy in 2001. In Spain, Saatchi is working with Madrid agency Ruiz Nicoli.

Gruner & Jahr sells U.K. magazines to Hearst unit

[london] Bertelsmann-owned publishing giant Gruner & Jahr is selling its magazine publishing assets in the U.K. so it can focus on the U.S. market. Gruner is selling the U.K. titles to Hearst Corp.'s National Magazine Co. The magazines include Best, Prima, Prima Baby, Your Home, and science and technology monthly Focus. The purchase will allow National Magazine to strengthen its core markets in women's interest, home and parenting titles. Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing titles include American Homestyle, American Homestyle & Gardening, Child, Family Circle, Fitness, McCall's, Parents and YM.

China cracks down on Internet ads

[beijing] The Chinese government announced new rules requiring all Web sites selling online ads to obtain a license. The Advertisement Supervision & Management Bureau under the State Administration for Industry & Commerce is to register 27 established Web-based companies in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to pilot online advertising in the country. The Web sites are being encouraged to help crack down on misleading ads following a flurry of problems. Online advertising is a major revenue earner for an increasing number of Web sites in China. By the end of 1999, there were 15,000 registered Internet sites in the country.

Online ads hit $17.5 mil in Hong Kong

[hong kong] Online ad revenue in Hong Kong hit $17.5 million last year, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau's Hong Kong chapter, providing the territory's first industrywide estimates. IAB Hong Kong's Internet Ad Revenue Report, conducted independently by PricewaterhouseCoopers, also said revenue increased significantly through 1999, with the fourth quarter accounting for $7.5 million, a 241% increase over the first quarter of last year. Categories leading online ad revenue were consumer-related (51%), telecom (16%), computing (14%), business services (10%) and financial services (9%). Banner ads were the predominant ad vehicle, accounting for 50% of revenue; content sponsorships came in at 46%. "We expect the figures for 2000 to show further sustained growth, possibly even more dramatic than that in the latter half of last year," said Andrew Watkins, partner at PWC's Technology, Info-Comms & Entertainment Practice in Hong Kong. Separately, Hong Kong's dot-com sector has lured a top local ad executive. Conrad Chiu is leaving his post as CEO of J. Walter Thompson Co. to take the same title at e-MPI, one of the operating companies of Morningside Technologies. Mr. Chiu is a 12-year veteran at JWT, and although he's not leaving the agency for another two months, the CEO spot already has been given to William Lau, formerly managing director of Jaguar, a JWT client in Hong Kong.

German expo `flop' breaks new campaigns

[hannover, germany] Expo 2000 here is trying to shore up poor visitor numbers with a new $25 million campaign at home and an additional $12.5 million ad push abroad via newly appointed agency DDB Worldwide, Duesseldorf. Entrance fees and parking costs also have been cut. Critics are dubbing the German world's fair a "Millennium flop." Expo 2000 Director Birgit Breuel now admits the exhibition could cost German taxpayers more than $600 million. Just 3 million people visited in the first six weeks -- a fraction of the anticipated 40 million. Previous expos in Lisbon in 1998 and Seville in '92 also proved to be disappointments.

Amway unveils local brand in India

[bombay] U.S.-based direct marketer Amway Corp. launched its first-ever local brand: Persona, developed in India for local consumers. The first product in the new, low-price line is a toothbrush, with male grooming lines and family soaps to follow, said executives at Amway India. The company said it will be looking to develop more local products and also to take on distribution of other brands under joint venture deals. Amway India, which has found the highly price-sensitive Indian market a hard nut to crack, also has a new CEO, William Pinckney, who takes over from Sudershan Banerjee.

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