[brussels] The European Parliament voted June 14 to introduce obligatory health warnings on 35% of the front of all packets of cigarettes sold in the European Union. The U.K. currently demands the largest on-pack warnings, at 6% of the package. The parliamentarians went further than the 25% called for by the European Commission's original draft directive. The tobacco industry criticized the vote as excessive. "If it were 10% or 15%, we wouldn't object, but this is in clear contradiction with the principle of proportionality," said Wilfred Dembach, chairman of the Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers. The ruling on health warnings also calls for 45% of the rear of the packet to be covered with warnings. The draft tobacco directive will be put before European Union health ministers June 29. It then will return for a second reading in the Parliament in autumn. The directive could be completed by the end of this year, after which each member state must write it into its own statute books.
Lowe shops win work in France and Russia
[paris and moscow] Lowe agencies scored two new accounts in Europe. Societe Generale, one of the two largest banks in France, tapped Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide to handle its estimated $25 million account. Young & Rubicam previously handled. The first creative work on the account will likely debut in September. In Russia, Unilever assigned the launch accounts of two new margarine brands to Adventa-Lowe-Lintas. The agency already handles the company's core margarine brand, Rama. The new brands are Delmy, a margarine for sandwiches, and Pyshka (literally "crumpet"), for baking. With the introduction of these lower-price spreads, Unilever is trying to push Rama's image upmarket. Rama, the country's top-selling margarine since its launch four years ago, is associated with blue-collar workers. A new commercial called "A Minute of Pleasure" features a white-collar worker in his office enjoying a sandwich made with Rama.
Virgin Energy plugs Burnett into account
[london] Virgin Group awarded Leo Burnett Co. the estimated $16 million launch of Virgin Energy, its online utility venture. Virgin Energy (virgin.com/energy) is a joint venture between Virgin, with a 75% share, and London Electricity. It will provide gas and electricity to homes in England, Scotland and Wales. Virgin Chairman Richard Branson said: "For too long. customers have been supplied energy by faceless institutions at inflated prices. We took a look at all the waste and bureaucracy in this industry and knew we could provide a better service at a lower price."
Springer & Jacoby gets Coke biz in Germany
[essen, germany] Coca-Cola Co. selected Springer & Jacoby, Hamburg, to create the cola giant's first exclusively German promotion in 25 years. "Try something new this summer. And Coca-Cola at 3 degrees Celsius" is the theme of the campaign aimed at injecting a youthful, modern image into Coca-Cola. The cinema and TV spots show young workers going to the office barefoot, wearing bikinis at meetings and inserting ice into their navels. Radio also is included.
Century 21 moves $3 mil account to Jump in France
[paris] Century 21 Real Estate Corp. chose Jump, Lyon, to take over its estimated $3 million French account. The appointment follows a four-way competition that also included incumbent McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Omnicom Group-owned DDB Red and independent shop Vista. Century 21 decided to put its account up for grabs after realizing that many potential home buyers saw its massive network and professionalism as the reflection of "a distant, cold and heartless American real estate machine," an agency insider said. "The brief we were given essentially said, `We are a very well-known brand. Make us a loved brand,' " said Account Manager Eric Bonparte. TV will be at the core of a campaign to be unveiled early next year.
BLD, Brahm Euro shops lift more Toyota work
[brussels] Toyota Industrial Equipment Europe appointed Dentsu subsidiary BLD Europe here, and Brahm, Leeds, U.K., to position Toyota-branded forklift trucks as a leader for materials handling equipment. Both agencies have done work for Toyota forklift trucks. BLD recently managed Toyota's presence at the Hannover Messe Exhibition, and Brahm is retained by the unit to handle advertising in the U.K. BLD will focus on pan-European communications strategy, market research and the production of marketing materials in various languages; Brahm will handle public relations, media and Internet business. The hiring follows Toyota's appointment five months ago of Andrew Elliot to the post of general manager-sales and marketing Europe, with the objective of developing Toyota's brand across its 23 European markets.
Vietnam to ban ads for breast milk substitutes
[ho chi minh city] Vietnam said it's banning ads for breast milk substitutes in a bid to promote breastfeeding among young mothers and reduce infant malnutrition. New legislation forbids the advertising of all breast milk substitutes for infants younger than 6 months. The ban also covers ads for feeding bottles and related products for infants ages 6 months to 2 years. Information claiming that breast milk substitutes are equal to or better than breast milk also will be outlawed, along with offers of product samples to parents, health agencies and officials. The new legislation has irked milk producers and advertisers, who argue it's out of line with the World Health Organization's international guidelines on advertising breast milk substitutes. "While we agree that breast milk is best for young babies, we believe that milk producers should still be able to advertise their products, especially as some mothers are unable to breastfeed," said Hong Anh, chief representative of J. Walter Thompson Co. here. JWT handles the account for Vietnam Foremost Dairy, a $29 million Dutch joint venture producing powdered and sweetened condensed milk.
Pokemon Pikachu inspires new Nintendo videogame
[tokyo] Nintendo is enlisting the help of perky Pikachu to launch a new version of its Nintendo 64 videogame in Japan next month. The new unit will feature the animated Pokemon character and be called Pikachu Nintendo 64. The game offers no technological improvements over the current Nintendo 64. Nintendo's new game release will come about two weeks after Sony's scaled down version of its PlayStation game, called PS One. "The new Pikachu game is meant to be cute," Nintendo said in a statement. It is in the shape of Pikachu, and the character's cheeks light up when the game is switched on. The game unit will hit the U.S. and Europe by yearend. Nintendo said it hasn't decided on an agency for the Pikachu game unit, but Dentsu is its main ad shop domestically.
Internet's Ask Jeeves calls on TBWA in U.K.
[london] Internet search engine Ask Jeeves U.K. (ask.co.uk) awarded its $15 million in ad business to TBWA GGT Simons Palmer. Euro RSCG Worldwide previously handled. Ask Jeeves U.K. is a joint venture between Ask Jeeves International of the U.S. and U.K. companies Carlton Communications and Granada Media Group.