[paris] Vivendi selected Publicis Conseil to manage advertising surrounding the pending $35 billion megamerger of its Canal-Plus pay-TV division and Canadian spirits and entertainment giant Seagram Co. Publicis picked up the corporate branding assignment for the new Vivendi Universal account without competition, largely on the strength of the relationship between Publicis President Maurice Levy and Vivendi CEO Jean-Marie Messier. The new campaign was to break Nov. 2, explaining the strategic vision behind the Vivendi Universal merger. Havas Advertising's Euro RSCG Corporate previously handled Vivendi's corporate account, due in part to Vivendi's status as leading minority shareholder in Havas. Mr. Messier's decision to give the Vivendi Universal assignment to Publicis adds credence to a longstanding belief that Vivendi is gradually cutting ties to Havas in the run-up to a planned sale of the agency company.
Goodyear reviews Dunlop in Europe
[london] Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is reviewing European advertising for the Dunlop brand, now handled by Abbott Mead Vickers/ BBDO, as part of the company's joint venture agreement with Dunlop parent Sumitomo Rubber Industries. "We are reviewing everything that we do, including advertising and marketing services," said Stuart Wyss, product planning manager at Dunlop Tires' U.K. headquarters. "We may well go back to where we started." A decision is expected shortly. Mr. Wyss would neither confirm nor deny that agencies already have pitched for the business. Contenders are thought to include BBDO Worldwide's London and Berlin offices; Springer & Jacoby, Frankfurt; and 180, Amsterdam. BBDO, Duesseldorf, used to handle the Dunlop business before the network opened an office in Berlin.
Uilot wins media for Wal-Mart in Germany
[wuppertal, germany] Wal-Mart Stores moved its media business in Germany to Uilot Media, Hamburg, from BBDO-owned GFMO. The media budget is expected to be considerably higher than 1999's $12.2 million. In September, Wal-Mart appointed Publicis, Frankfurt, to be its first creative agency in Germany. Previously, ads were adapted in-house from spots created by GSD&M, Austin, Texas.
True North acquires U.K's Genus Media
[chicago] True North Communications strengthened its global media operations with the acquisition of Genus Media, parent of MBS Media, a U.K.-based media buying and planning agency with estimated billings of more than $225 million. Genus also brings to True North its Expert Media media services group. True North is one of the few major ad organizations not to control a global media buying and planning specialist. Its U.S.-based TN Media only operates internationally in a few markets, including Canada, Mexico and some other Latin American countries. Prior to its divorce from Publicis, True North relied on Publicis-owned Optimedia to handle its media buying internationally.
Quebec sells liquor online at saq.com
[montreal] Quebec became the first Canadian province to offer wines and spirits through its Web site. The Societe des Alcools du Quebec, which controls the sale of alcoholic beverages in the province and operates its own retail stores, on Oct. 30 launched the bilingual saq.com. The site allows customers to choose from 500 products, 30 of which are available exclusively on saq.com. The total will explode to 5,000 to 6,000 products online within 12 to 18 months, said Gaetan Frigon, SAQ president-general manager. Mr. Frigon expects online sales by the March 31 end of the fiscal year to reach $3 million, though it could conceivably hit that level by this Christmas. An outdoor, print and TV campaign from Publicite Martin began late last month. SAQ recently put its $4 million-plus creative and production account up for review and is expected to announce a short-list of five agencies. Media is handled by Cossette Communication-Marketing. LG2 handles corporate advertising, which isn't part of the review.
Deutsche Bank portal taps Online Marketing
[frankfurt] Deutsche Bank subsidiary Moneyshelf.com appointed Online Marketing Agency, a 6-month-old start-up, to handle its international online marketing account. The budget wasn't disclosed but was said to run into seven figures. Moneyshelf.com is positioned as an independent portal that offers neutral financial information to consumers across Europe who wish to compare products and services before buying.
Hachette finally joins lad pack with `Maximal'
[paris] Leading French publisher Hachette Filipacchi finally entered the battle for a share of France's competitive men's magazine sector, launching Maximal. The magazine aims to sell 130,000 copies monthly with 25 ad pages by mid-2001. A color inside ad page costs $10,000. The late October debut puts an end to nearly two years of uncertainty about Hachette's intentions in the men's magazine sector. The publisher has long sought to duplicate in the masculine sector its phenomenal success with Elle. But the group hit a major roadblock early this year when audience testing forced the withdrawal of a prototype tentatively titled IL just weeks before a planned national launch. Hachette then decided to create a French-language adaptation of the highly successful Maxim concept. In France, the name was lengthened to Maximal to avoid confusion with Max, an existing title in the same sector. Hachette has rolled out an internally created $1.5 million launch campaign for Maximal, declaring the new magazine "man's greatest discovery since the creation of woman."
GM Sails new vehicle into China's small-car market
[beijing] General Motors Corp. before yearend will launch in China a small, family car called the Sail. The car reportedly is based on the Opel platform. It will be made in GM's Shanghai plant, where full-scale production is expected to start next April. Annual production is expected to top 50,000. Among other initiatives in this sector, Toyota Motor Corp. has government approval to team with a local partner in Tianjin to manufacture family cars. Ford Motor Co. is reported to be stepping up efforts to form a joint venture with the Chang'an Automotive Works in Chongqing to produce a family car. And Germany's Volkswagen is reported to have drafted plans for a small car for China.
Coke hatches $8.3 mil summer push in Brazil
[rio de janeiro] Coca-Cola Co. is investing $8.3 million -- a third more than last year -- on a consumer campaign in the run-up to the Brazilian summer. Called "Coca-Cola -- Summer to Enjoy," the campaign will kick off in November by distributing 11,000 invitations to a "Rock in Rio" concert to be held here Jan. 12-21. A TV campaign via McCann-Erickson Worldwide will follow, running through February.
EAAAs pushes for ad freedom
[johannesburg] That advertising to children should remain free of government restrictions was the reverberating message at the European Association of Advertising Agencies' first congress outside Europe, held late last month in South Africa. "Advertising enables competition, allows choice, encourages product improvement, brings down prices and fuels economic growth. All these things benefit the consumer and the economy, but advertising rarely gets the credit," said Rupert Howell, chairman of HHCL & Partners and president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, London. One of the unintended consequences of ad bans is that prices rise by up to 40%, Mr. Howell said. "Advertising to children is conducted in a highly responsible manner throughout Europe," he said. "But bans are often used as a cover for blatant protectionism, as in Greece." Mr. Howell also argued that comparative advertising should be allowed, and that tobacco marketers should be allowed to advertise to existing smokers only, ruling out broadcast media. Attempts to restrict alcohol advertising also should be resisted, "otherwise we will be on a slippery slope. What would be next? Cars?"
Ibero American venture to buy struggling El Sitio
[miami] Ibero American Media Partners, a joint venture between U.S. investment company Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst and Venezuelan conglomerate Cisneros Group of Cos., is acquiring struggling Latin American portal El Sitio (elsitio.com). Ibero American will merge its holdings with El Sitio to create a new company, Claxson Interactive Group. It will focus on creating integrated content for multiple platforms and distribution methods, as well as explore synergies between the media in areas such as ad sales. The Ibero American joint venture was formed in December 1997 as a $500 million fund to invest in media in Latin America, Spain and Portugal.
Amazon.com expands with Japanese site
[tokyo] Amazon.com on Nov. 1 opened for business in Japan, the world's second-largest book market, marking the fourth international site for the e-commerce giant. Amazon.co.jp will offer 1.7 million titles in Japanese and English as it tries to slice out a chunk of the tightly controlled, $21 billion Japanese book market. Japan is currently Amazon.com's largest export market with 193,000 customers and yearly sales of $34 million. Even with the cost of shipping to Japan, English-language books bought through Amazon are often about one-third to one-half the price of the same titles found on the shelves of a Tokyo retailer. The Japanese-language site allows customers complete access to the current catalog of books in publication in Japan as well as English-language titles. The Japanese Web site will offer discounts of up to 30% on English-language books, but the online retailer is forbidden by law to discount the price of Japanese books.
Advertising.com plans growth in Euro markets
[london] U.S.-based Advertising.com, which offers agencies and marketers a range of Internet-enabled advertising media, is setting up a regional headquarters in London and has recruited a former European head of Ted Bates Advertising to oversee the dot-com's expansion on the continent. Joining Bruce McLaren will be Advertising.com Managing Director for Europe Daphne Marinopoulos, one of the company's founders, and Nicholas Green, who will be sales director. Mr. Green comes from Teletext and The Daily Telegraph. Advertising.com also will set up offices in France, Germany and Sweden within the next year.