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Carrefour, Wal-Mart shift media accounts

[paris] Two large retailers operating in Europe reassigned their media activities. French supermarket giant Carrefour Supermarches consolidated the majority of its European media planning and buying at Carat, Paris. The agency picks up the massive budget -- rumored to top $750 million -- after a competition against Havas Advertising's MPG Arena and WPP Group-owned MindShare. Carrefour Supermarches was born in 1999 from the $16.5 billion friendly merger of Carrefour and Promodes. Carrefour gave national executives free rein over advertising and promotions for the group's various retail brands in the wake of the merger, but has since announced plans to reap savings through European marketing consolidation. Separately, Wal-Mart Stores will move its German media budget to Uilot Media, Hamburg, from BBDO Worldwide-owned GFMO. Wal-Mart spent $12 million on advertising in Germany in 1999, but media watchers say the budget has increased significantly this year. Last month, Wal-Mart appointed Publicis, Frankfurt, as its creative agency for the German market. Also at the retailer, Wal-Mart Europe President-CEO Allan Leighton left to join Lastminute.com, one of the U.K.'s highest-profile e-commerce ventures. Mr. Leighton took the title of non-executive chairman, following his surprise resignation from the world's biggest retailer last month. He succeeds Pieter Bouw, a former president-CEO of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, who joined Lastminute.com in 1998. Lastminute.com takes commission on the last-minute sale of goods such as flights and theater tickets over its Web site.

U.K.'s Boots favors WPP; division buys Clearasil

[london] U.K. pharmacy and beauty products retailer Boots Co. announced a strategic global agreement with a number of WPP Group units, affecting almost $116 million in communications spending. In essence, any retail chain or product bearing the Boots name will be handled by units of WPP. All Boots branded consumer advertising goes to J. Walter Thompson Co. MindShare will be responsible for the company's $87 million U.K. media planning and buying account. Omnicom Group's Optimum Media Direction Worldwide previously handled media buying. Other WPP operating companies will supply most of Boots' consumer public relations, market research and brand consultancy needs. Also last week, the company's Boots Healthcare International division agreed to acquire Procter & Gamble Co.'s Clearasil skincare brand. The $340 million deal is subject to regulatory approvals. P&G announced last summer it had hired Goldman, Sachs & Co. to seek bids for the brand, which the marketer said makes up less than 2% of its beauty-care sales, as part of P&G's plans to concentrate on top brands such as Olay. Grey Worldwide, New York, handled Clearasil under P&G. For Boots, the Clearasil purchase gives the company its first brand in the U.S.

Springer carries away more Daimler accounts

[stuttgart] German creative hot shop Springer & Jacoby is riding high with DaimlerChrysler, winning two international assignments from Mercedes-Benz for the new C-Class Sportcoupe and C-Class T-Model. Both are scheduled to be launched worldwide next year. A week earlier, the Hamburg-based shop won the international account for DaimlerChrysler's Smart car, estimated to be worth more than $40 million. Weber Hodel Schmid, Zurich, previously handled the city car. Springer & Jacoby already held the Mercedes-Benz account for the German market. True North Communications, Chicago, the holding company for FCB Worldwide, is buying a 35% stake in Springer & Jacoby with the intent of funding the expansion of the German agency into a network able to handle the Mercedes account across Europe. FCB is currently pitching against BBDO Worldwide for DaimlerChrysler's $1 billion creative account for its Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands.

Euro space company lands at Lowe Lintas

[hamburg] European aeronautics and space company EADS appointed Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide as its global agency after a pitch against two unidentified shops. EADS' main brands are Airbus, Ariane and Eurofighter. The company was formed from the merger of Aerospace (a former DaimlerChrysler subsidiary), French aerospace company Matra and Spain's CASA. Lowe Lintas will break a worldwide trade campaign next month.

Singapore brewer pours Tiger into DDB

[singapore] Asia-Pacific Breweries shifted the Singapore account for its lucrative Tiger beer brand to DDB Worldwide. The move is a blow to seven-year incumbent Saatchi & Saatchi, which recently lost Visa Asia-Pacific's estimated $20 million account to DDB sibling BBDO Worldwide. Other agencies pitching Tiger included Batey Ads and Leo Burnett Co. Although the account is worth a relatively modest $3 million, the win is significant given the status of the brand in the Singapore market, said DDB President Tim Evill. According to DDB parent Omnicom Group's Interbrand survey, Tiger beer is one of Singapore's best known brands globally, second only to Singapore Airlines. Last year, the brand owned 60% of the higher-end lager segment in Singapore, and posted sales of $765 million in Asia-Pacific.

Coca-Cola heats up Burn; Pepsi Euro exec to e-job

[london] Coca-Cola Co. is muscling into the burgeoning energy drinks sector with the launch of Burn in the U.K. and Australia. Burn is being positioned as an underground drink to appeal to young, fashion-conscious people in nightclubs, bars and the rave scene. In keeping with the core target market's language and lifestyle, Burn won't use mainstream advertising for the moment; Coca-Cola is handling marketing in-house. Meanwhile, rival PepsiCo promoted Simon Lowden to the new post of international e-marketing and media director from European marketing director for Pepsi. Mr. Lowden will be responsible for developing Pepsi's Internet marketing strategy. As head of Pepsi's European marketing, he helped achieve sustained growth for the soft drink in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, overseeing many regional promotions and developing Pepsi's pan-European music program. He will be succeeded by Graham Andrews, from franchise director for Pepsi in Africa.

Italian protesters frown at McDonald's

[rome] McDonald's Corp. is the latest multinational company to be targeted by opponents of globalization in Italy. Protests against McDonald's restaurants in 20 major cities occurred Oct. 16. The demonstrations coincided with McDonald's 15th anniversary in Italy. Similar demonstrations have taken place to protest the opening of a shopping mall in northern Italy earlier this year, and a group of activists succeeded in delaying for more than a year the opening of the Rome location for furniture retailer Ikea. Additionally, a group of small and medium-size Italian cities have banded together to promote what they call "Slow Living," in part as a reaction against fast-food restaurants such as McDonald's (AA, July 31). In the latest round of action, protesters -- in some cases as many as 1,000 -- gathered around entrances to McDonald's restaurants and made it difficult for customers to enter. In several cities, Italian TV news reported that riot police were dispatched to make sure the protests remained peaceful and to assure that customers could enter the restaurants. The protesters said they opposed the spread of fast-food, which they said is resulting in the "Americanization" of Italy. McDonald's operates 272 restaurants in Italy and employs about 15,000 workers. The burger giant had Italian sales of $315 million last year.

Europeans reveal car-ad preferences

[london] The messages consumers want from car advertising are surprisingly consistent across Europe, but potential car buyers differ markedly in which media they want to see delivering those messages, according to a survey of 9,000 Europeans. Some 65% of those surveyed said they want car ads that grab their attention, making it the top attribute; 63% said they want ads to reassure them that the brand is reliable. The third most desired content of a car ad is "detail," with 61% wanting ads to provide detailed information about a brand, according to the findings from Initiative Media Futures, the research arm of media buying and planning network Initiative Media Worldwide. But Europeans diverge on how they want those messages delivered. When it comes to communicating reliability, for example, TV was the medium of choice for Italians, French and Germans, while the British cited specialist magazines and the quality press as their first choices; Spaniards picked radio.

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