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Carat rides with Renault; parent Aegis ups profits

[paris] Renault awarded its $600 million European media buying account to Carat as part of the French carmaker's bid to centralize its regional media business. Also pitching the account were Publicis Groupe's Optimedia, Omnicom Group-owned Optimum Media Direction and Initiative Media, part of Interpublic Group of Cos. The account spans 16 European markets. The win adds to the good news at Carat parent Aegis Group. The London-based holding company said pre-tax profit for the first half climbed 19% from a year ago to $49 million, on 73% higher revenue of $299 million. For the period, Aegis reported net new billings of $1.03 billion.

BBDO's Duesseldorf office wins Persil, postal work

[duesseldorf] BBDO Worldwide's office here was on a roll with two account wins last week. Henkel formally moved to the agency its entire business for Persil in Germany and other European markets. Persil is Henkel's best-selling detergent in Germany and the ad budget in that country alone is estimated at $40 million. Henkel nine months ago fired 50-year incumbent Lowe & Partners due to its merger with Unilever agency Ammirati Puris Lintas, and moved the work "for the time being" to BBDO. Separately, the German postal service awarded BBDO the global account of its Danzas forwarding service. Deutsche Post wants to raise the awareness of Danzas in the U.S., Asia and Scandinavia in a bid to become a global leader in its sector.

Omnicom agency snares combined airlines' acc't

[paris] Omnicom Group's BDDP & Fils won a high-stakes competition to handle consolidated advertising for three French airlines now flying under the Swissair flag. The account includes French carriers Air Liberte, Air Littoral and AOM, each of which previously operated individual campaigns run by separate agencies. The consolidation competition pitted each of the three airlines' agencies -- BDDP & Fils for Air Liberte; Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide-owned Alice for AOM; and Leo Burnett Co.'s Challenger House for Air Littoral -- against a proposal from Advico Young & Rubicam, Zurich, lead agency on Swissair. Swissair acquired Air Liberte in mid-2000 and announced plans to merge the three carriers into a single company capable of challenging Air France for supremacy in the French market beginning in 2001.

Mercedes-Benz shops pitch work for 2 cars

[stuttgart] DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz division asked four of its international roster agencies to make presentations for two marques to be launched in the first quarter of 2001, the Mercedes C-class Coupe and Mercedes C-class Estate. Contending are Hamburg-based Springer & Jacoby, which handles the German business; Batey, Singapore; Partners BDDH, London; and BBDO Clemenger Harvie, Melbourne. Commenting on the pitch, Justus Schneider, Mercedes-Benz's manager for marketing communications, said: "We may not find a campaign suitable for all markets."

Tempus plans to launch `alternative' lead concept

[london] Tempus Group, parent of media buying and planning agency CIA, in January will launch Tempus Partners, an "alternative" lead agency concept. The new unit will manage the creative process for clients and tap into the expertise of various Tempus Group units. Myra Landburgh, formal global head of the Mars Inc. account at BBDO Worldwide, will lead Tempus Partners. The new agency was announced amid strong first-half results for Tempus -- pre-tax profit of $14.8 million was up 42% from a year ago, as revenue rose 68% to $95.7 million. Net new billings totaled $513 million for the period. Meanwhile at CIA, Ron de Pear has been appointed chairman of its international unit. Mr. De Pear, former worldwide client services director at WPP Group's MindShare, succeeds Mainardo de Nardis, who after seven years at the post is stepping aside to focus on his role as CIA's European CEO. Mr. De Pear logged more than 20 years at J. Walter Thompson Co. and MindShare.

Venezuelan fast-feeder to expand to U.S., Europe

[caracas] Churromania, a Venezuelan fast-food chain offering snack and breakfast pastries, is expanding into the U.S. and Europe. Churromania plans to enter the U.S. next March via an outlet at the Dolphin mall, now under construction in Miami. Spain will be Churromania's point of entry to Europe. The company handles marketing in-house. The decision to expand internationally comes in the wake of Churromania's buoyant 30% growth in Venezuela, where the company has 30 franchises, said President Ariel Acosta-Rubio.

Deal allows TN to hike Springer & Jacoby stake

[hamburg] True North Communications, Chicago, has the option to increase it holdings in Springer & Jacoby to 51% by 2003, after the U.S. company acquired about 35% of the German agency (AA, Sept. 11). Even with the increased holding by True North, Springer would retain management control. The German agency's executive board will consist of two executives from Springer and one from True North. "The independence of our agency is granted by the participation model. We have the majority in the board," a Springer spokesman said. Springer has been in search of financing to build a European network, and it appointed Michael Trautmann, 35, managing director of Springer & Jacoby International. However, Mr. Trautmann said there's no pressure or a fixed timetable from True North to set up an international network. Springer, with billings of $409 million, opened a London office a year ago and this year is opening in Barcelona and Milan. An office in France is planned for 2001. Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland may follow in one to two years; offices in Japan and the U.S. are planned within two to three years. "We try to start up on our own as much as possible, and our goal is to buy as little as possible," Mr. Trautmann said. "But it could well be that we have to buy an agency if it fits into our strategy."

ACNielsen launches Asian e-research unit

[hong kong] ACNielsen launched ACNielsen.online in the Asia-Pacific to offer existing clients and new e-commerce businesses customized and syndicated online research services, such as e-Panel measurement, Web clinics, e-mail surveys, Web site tracking and off-line surveys. The new unit complements ACNielsen's existing core research capabilities and the recently established Nielsen//Net-Ratings global Internet audience measurement service.

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