[levallois, france] Havas Advertising completed its $2.2 billion acquisition of Snyder Communications, Bethesda, Md. Havas shareholders voted their final approval of the Snyder acquisition early last week, and Havas began trading American Depositary Shares, under the symbol HADV, on the Nasdaq exchange Sept. 27. The share price ended its first day at $17.13. Also last week, Havas said its net profits jumped 45% in the first half vs. a year ago, to $39.4 million, as gross income rose 38.8% to $646 million. Billings also were up 38.8%, topping $4.29 billion. The Snyder acquisition didn't figure in first-half results, but Havas expects the fusion with Snyder to result in cost-saving synergies of $35 million to $50 million, while gross income is expected to rise 27% to 32% over the 1999 figure.
Renault's Samsung Motors reviews $36 mil account
[seoul] Following French automaker Renault's acquisition of Samsung Motors last month, the South Korean company's $36 million account is up for grabs. Cheil Communications, South Korea's largest agency and a Samsung affiliate, was once a shoo-in for the account. But Renault has invited other heavyweights here including LG Ad and Daehong Communications for a late October pitch. Also on a short list: TBWA Worldwide's Seoul office, which opened last year. Publicis Groupe, Paris, handles Renault's global business. Renault also could pick a joint venture run by Cheil and Tokyo-based Hakuhodo. Hakuhodo handles advertising for Japan's Nissan Motor Co., which supplies Samsung Motors with technology and is also controlled by Renault.
India bans TV advertising for alcohol and tobacco
[bombay] The Indian government formally banned alcohol and tobacco ads on cable and terrestrial TV. The new law prohibits advertising that directly or indirectly promotes the consumption or sale of tobacco and alcohol. Although alcohol represents a small source of ad revenue for broadcasters, the new category has been growing extremely quickly. The nationalist BJP government also banned the showing of "adult programs" between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., and prohibited ads that contain references that may hurt religious sentiments.
Ad spending up 38% as Vietnam revives
[ho chi minh city] Ad spending in Vietnam jumped 38% in the first half of 2000 vs. a year ago, reflecting renewed confidence in the market and revived consumer spending, according to ACNielsen Vietnam. TV spending enjoyed the most dramatic rise, up 49%, while print spending increased 20%, said Sunchai Anuman Rajadhon, who heads Nielsen in Vietnam. "The rise of advertising expenditures in Vietnam corresponds with the rest of the region as countries rebound from the Asian financial crisis," Mr. Rajadhon said, adding that the figures were a good barometer of the country's economic health.
Chinese bank unveils first int'l credit card
[beijing] The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China launched the country's first internationally accepted credit card. Initially, the card was only available to Chinese sports reporters covering the Olympics in Sydney; they can use the card in 15 million Visa card-approved shops in 250 countries and regions. The Chinese financial institution, the country's largest commercial bank, ultimately will offer the card to the public.
New Korea.com touts broadband services
[seoul] Thrunet, South Korea's leading broadband Internet-access service provider, launched the Korea.com portal Sept. 26, providing extensive broadband services covering communications, community, commerce and multimedia content. The site also will feature live streaming news, music channels, TV shows, movies on demand, online ticketing and a live interactive education channel. "We think Korea.com sets new standards not only in Korea but also in the global online world," said CEO Lee Jae Hyun. "Currently, there is no real global broadband portal in the world," added a company official. Korea.com will depend heavily on ad revenue initially, but said it expects strong income growth in network games and hosting other companies on its site.
Millsport prepares early for 2004 Athens Games
[athens] Omnicom Group-owned agencies BBDO Worldwide here and PNM Sports are combining to launch Millsport Athens, a sports marketing agency specializing in sponsorship for the 2004 Summer Olympics to be staged in Athens. Athens-based PNM is a joint venture between Stamford, Conn.-based Millsport and Omnicom's Porter Novelli, New York. "We want to be ahead of schedule in terms of client preparedness for the Olympics," said Tassos Prassinos, managing director of BBDO Group Greece. Millsport Athens' lure will be its combination of proven international Olympic experience and local integrated marketing services, he added. Millsport has worked on Olympic-related business for more than 20 years.
Gas crisis fuels VW ad; Audi unit drops Wieden
[berlin] Volkswagen unveiled a print campaign promoting the low gasoline consumption of its cars as the fuel crisis facing Germany showed no signs of letting up. The spread is headlined "The best ways against high fuel prices." Promoted as low consumers of gas are the Boro, Golf, Lupo, Polo, new Beetle, Passat and Sharan. DDB Worldwide created the campaign. Separately, Volkswagen subsidiary Audi ended its relationship with the Amsterdam office of Wieden & Kennedy. Wieden had handled this year's European launch of the Audi A2, the smallest model in the Audi line. An Audi executive said the agency had been hired only to handle the estimated $15 million rollout. Future ad work on the A2 was assigned to Audi roster agency Saatchi & Saatchi, Frankfurt. Wieden won the A2 launch project in October 1998 in a pitch that also included agencies belonging to the Audi Agency Network, an informal grouping of highly creative shops based in various locations around the world that come together to work for Audi. The appointment of Wieden marked the first time Audi had used a non-roster agency since setting up AAN. Saatchi is Audi's German agency and part of AAN.
Euro e-tailer specializes in selling motor scooters
[rome] Motorride unveiled plans for a pan-European Internet portal to feed the growing demand for motor scooters and related products. The portal, which will debut Oct. 15 under the name Motorride.com, will sell scooters and accessories online. Plans are eventually to sell financing products and insurance as well. Service initially will be offered in Europe's five largest markets -- Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the U.K. -- and then expand to the U.S. and Japan, probably next year. Motorride is the product of more than a year of planning by Morgan Grenfell Private Equity, Deutsche Bank, Boston Consulting Group and Piaggio, maker of the famous Vespa motor bike. Opinion Leader, Milan, said advertising will begin this month. Media will include the Internet, TV and radio.
Comparison-shopping Web site heads to Spain
[paris] European comparison-shopping Internet site BuyCentral opened a Spanish-language version (buycentral.com/es) aimed at tapping into Spain's burgeoning e-commerce sector, projected to approach $4 billion in 2001. BuyCentral already was present in France, Germany, Italy and the U.S., and is one of Europe's top comparison-shopping sites. BuyCentral offers three principal services: price comparison on several million recognized goods and services; product comparison; and comparison of online shopping outlets, derived from comments made by cybershoppers.
Bic breaks TV campaign for new razor in France
[paris] Bic Corp. returned to the French airwaves late last month with its first national advertising for the new Softwin disposable razor. The campaign centers on two TV spots designed by Omnicom Group-owned BDDP@TBWA here and sibling agency TBWA/Chiat/ Day, New York. The ads for Softwin -- a high-end disposable introduced earlier this year in the U.S. and Italy -- focus on the new razor's efficiency and "soft touch." The slogan, "A perfect shave, on both sides of your face," is a humorous reference to images from the commercials, in which men become clean-shaven on one half of their faces simply by walking past ads for the new razor. BDDP@TBWA refused to provide a budget for the national campaign but said it's Bic's largest French new-product launch since it unveiled its original orange razor in 1975.