Sega robot mutt vs. Sony's pooch

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[tokyo] Sega Toys, a subsidiary of videogame marketer Sega Enterprises, last week took the leash off of its robot dog Poo-chi. Poo-chi, which goes on sale in April, is an affordable alternative to Sony Corp.'s Aibo, a pedigreed electronic pup priced at $2,500. Poo-chi will sell for $28, and Sega Toys is looking at sales of 1 million units for the pet's first year. Although Poo-chi does not have all the electronic wizardry of Aibo, it can stand up, sit and even walk on its tiptoes. Sega Toys plans to take Poo-chi to the world market through its alliance with U.S. toymaker Tiger Electronics. The company has not decided on an advertising agency in Japan.

Qantas' Koala Vic takes to the beach

[sydney] Qantas' animatronic Koala Vic has shot his sixth commercial for the airline at Sydney's Bondi Beach. Currently in the U.K., the new spot is also expected to be expanded to the U.S. Created by M&C Saatchi, the new campaign again uses the voice of Australian actor Ben Mendehlson to bring the cheeky Koala to life. Vic, missing his Speedos, tells international viewers: "I don't mind the odd bare sunbather." The campaign's tagline is "Can you bear to miss it?"

BBDO, Wrigley face suits in Canada

[toronto] BBDO Canada and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.'s Canadian subsidiary are facing lawsuits claiming copyright violation and unauthorized use of a photo in an outdoor campaign that broke last year. Olympic gold medal-winning biathlete Myriam Bedard filed suit with the Quebec Superior Court after a picture of her was used-and altered-without her permission. A second lawsuit against the companies has been filed in the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario by Canada's national news agency, the Canadian Press, and its commercial photo company, CP Picture Archive, which hold the copyright on the original photo. At issue is a photo of a mean-looking skier used in an autumn 1999 regional Wrigley campaign. BBDO conceded it altered Ms. Bedard's photo and said the photo was used due to "an internal administrative error." BBDO declined comment on the second suit.

MTV acquires stake in MTV Russia

[london] MTV Networks International, a unit of Viacom, has acquired an equity stake in MTV Russia, the Russian-language lifestyle network launched in 1998 in a licensing agreement with Biz Enterprises. MTV Russia can be seen in more than 15.7 million households in 45 cities. Featuring a mixture of Russian and international music videos, the network is distributed in key markets such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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