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Telstra taps 4 agencies for $100 mil in ad work

[sydney] Australia's biggest pitch is finally over, with four agencies selected to handle the $100 million account for Telstra. More than 44 ad shops vied for the telco's business, which will now be split among three incumbents and one new face. Incumbent Singleton Ogilvy & Mather will handle Telstra's retail advertising activity and promotion of Telstra Shops. Singleton O&M also will be responsible for Telstra's dot-com advertising, picking up the business from Mojo Partners. Clemenger BBDO will retain responsibility for the Pacific Access Yellow Pages and execution of the current Telstra branding campaign. However, it's not all good news for Clemenger. The brand account will move to Telstra's new ad agency, the Campaign Palace, once the current campaign is completed. The Palace has been appointed to take on the new role of strategic brand planning for the entire business and will manage future Telstra corporate brand campaigns. Media planning and buying agency Optimedia, owned by France's Publicis Groupe, has been appointed to handle Telstra's lucrative media account. However, Publicis-owned Mojo lost out significantly in the review, being dumped from any creative accounts; Mojo had handled an ill-fated Olympic campaign and the Telstra dot-com business.

Vietnam may give OK to multinational shops

[hanoi] Vietnam's ad industry could be in for a major shake-up if a ordinance permitting multinational agencies to set up branches there is approved by the National Assembly's Standing Committee. Although Vietnam has operated an "open-door" policy toward foreign enterprises for more than a decade, much of its ad market remains off limits to outsiders. Even joint ventures in advertising were prohibited before last year, when Saatchi & Saatchi was allowed to set up a pilot project with local agency Sao Mai. If ratified, the new ordinance would allow multinational agencies to operate independently in the market. Industry insiders, however, remain skeptical that anything will come of the ordinance. Senior officials have repeatedly warned that domestic companies could be overwhelmed if multinational agencies were allowed unrestricted access to the market. Moreover, advertising is still regarded as an ideologically sensitive area by the authorities. The majority of the 14 agencies currently operating in Vietnam have so far been restricted to representative status, though it's widely known that many agencies have found ways around regulations aimed at preventing them from doing business directly. Yet even local agencies are now calling for more deregulation. Le Tri Dung, vice director of Vietnam Advertising Agency, argued that lowering restrictions on international agencies is likely to boost the volume of business, generating enough work for both local and overseas agencies.

Chinese movie director backs Marlboro clothing

[beijing] Philip Morris Cos.' Marlboro Classics casual clothing brand appointed Zhang Yimou, perhaps the most famous movie director from the Chinese mainland, to be its image ambassador in China. Mr. Zhang said of his appointment to help advertise the brand: "I began wearing the clothes eight years ago because I liked the style, and they are durable and easy to clean, which is great for people with jobs like mine." Marlboro Classics has recently opened its flagship store in China on the ground floor of the Beijing Oriental Plaza. Marlboro Classics now has stores in 10 Chinese cities.

U.S., Euro retailing giants plot growth plans in China

[beijing] Three of the world's largest retailers -- Wal-Mart Stores, France's Carrefour and Germany's Metro -- plan to expand their businesses on the Chinese mainland. U.S.-based Wal-Mart said it will double its outlets in China next year. Wal-Mart entered the market in 1996 and has opened eight outlets. Carrefour, which entered China in 1995, has 23 outlets in 15 big cities. Metro has said it will double the number of its outlets in China next year to 16.

Christmas e-tail season will be jolly in Canada

[vancouver] Nearly one in five Canadian Internet users will likely buy Christmas gifts online this year, says a new survey that anticipates at least a 90% increase in online spending this holiday season. Market researcher Ipsos-Reid "conservatively" projects Canadian online gift shopping will boom to $353 million in November and December. Books, music and videos top the list of expected online buys, followed by toys and software in distant second and third spots, respectively. Meanwhile, book and music seller Chapters Online (chapters.ca), Canada's No. 1 online retailer, reports its net sales this past quarter doubled to $8.5 million from the same period a year ago. Net loss for the quarter: $6 million.

S. African Tourism Board plans $13 mil campaign

[johannesburg] The South African Tourist Board committed $13 million to a six-month campaign to woo tourists from six top overseas markets. The advertising will be targeted to France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, the U.K. and U.S., with the aim to increase the number of visitors from these countries to 1.4 million by 2002 from 1998's level of 887,000. The major slice of the budget, some $11 million, will be spent on advertising created by Skotaville Communications, an agency within the Ogilvy & Mather Rightford group, the country's biggest ad agency.

French fragrance giants challenge Parfumsnet

[paris] - Legal challenges from top international luxury goods and cosmetics marketers including L'Oreal, LVMH Group and Yves Saint Laurent forced cyber-boutique Parfumsnet to temporarily shutter its online perfume counter in France. The perfume marketers assert that unlicensed sales at parfumsnet.fr violate their right to operate selective distribution networks across the 15-member European Union. European courts have long allowed luxury goods producers wide leeway to control marketing and distribution. Leading members of this group are unwilling to allow Internet-based discount merchants like Parfumsnet to enter their selective distribution networks. Parfumsnet, launched last year by former L'Oreal employees, suggests that the perfume marketers' principal objective is not to protect brand notoriety but rather to establish full control over online sales. Until now, product manufacturers have refused Parfums-net's repeated requests for inclusion in selective distribution networks. Parfumsnet is demanding that courts recognize the Internet as "a new market" meriting inclusion in existing distribution policies. It continues operating parallel sites in Italy and Spain, including French-language pages, at parfumsnet.com during the appeals process.

`Cyber-squatter' hobbles eBay's entry into France

[paris] EBay is fighting what appears to be an uphill court battle to prevent a leading European rival from using its name in France. U.S.-based eBay launched a French-language site early last month but was forced to use a new domain name (ebayfrance.com) after finding that its first choice (ebay.fr) had been "cyber-squatted" by a Paris-based business linked to auction house iBazar. A Paris district court refused an eBay petition to recover the coveted domain name, leading to arguments before an appeals court early this month. The domain name is currently registered, but not used, by a French company, Forum on the Net, founded by Marc Piquemal, who is managing director of the iBazar Group. Mr. Piquemal, a former associate at investment bank Goldman, Sachs & Co., has longstanding links to eBay, having participated in the company's initial public offering on Nasdaq. Goldman Sachs has since played an influential role in the pan-European launch of iBazar, and Mr. Piquemal has jumped from the investment bank to its dot-com client. The legal battle has slowed eBay's French launch; it hasn't yet brought advertising to bear in its initial challenge to existing domestic players. The company has tapped Omnicom Group-owned DDB & Co., Paris, to handle a series of public relations, event-planning and promotional tasks.

Expo 2000 closes doors; its run was less than fair

[hannover, germany] Expo 2000 here closed its doors Oct. 31, leaving debts of $1.2 billion. Just 18 million visitors came through the doors -- less than half the 40 million anticipated. BBDO Worldwide-owned KNSK, Hamburg, was the first agency to handle promotion for Germany and internationally. Then in early July, when it was recognized the event wasn't meeting visitor number targets, another Omnicom Group shop, DDB Worldwide, Duesseldorf, was appointed for a more aggressive $25 million campaign.

Italian designer Prada may sell 30% stake

[rome] Italian design house Prada says it may sell a 30% stake early next year as part of a broader effort to give its upscale image a face-lift. Italy's best known fashion brands, such as Armani and Versace, generally have avoided listing on Milan's stock exchange for fear of losing control of operations and to avoid the financial disclosure requirements of public companies. But with stocks in design houses in fashion with investors, Prada saw an opportunity to raise capital while keeping control safely in the hands of owners Miuccia Prada, the granddaughter of founder Mario Prada, and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli. Financial analysts say the company will likely use the money to pay down an estimated $250 million in debt incurred from acquisitions, to pay for expansion plans and perhaps to fund further acquisitions. There are no plans to change Prada's advertising, which is developed in-house. Most of Prada's ads appear in print or outdoor and are simple, with a stylish model sporting a Prada accessory, with the company's name and logo below. Prada would become the second Italian design house recently to take the relatively unusual road of listing shares. Earlier in November, Tod's, the maker of famous pebble-sole loafers, completed a $260 million initial public offering. But Prada is much larger than Tod's. Prada last year had sales of $945 million; profits of $145 million were up nearly 240% from 1998.

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