Starcom-MediaVest wins P&G in China

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[hong kong] Procter & Gamble Co. moved its estimated $150 million media buying account in China to an unnamed joint venture established by Leo Group's Starcom Worldwide and MacManus Group's Media-Vest. The business is considered the largest single media account in Asia outside Japan. The loss of such a major piece of business is a blow to incumbent Zenith Media. The intense pitch also included Grey Advertising's MediaCom and one non-roster agency, Omnicom Group's Optimum Media Direction. Starcom and MediaVest were invited to pitch separately in August when P&G announced there would be a review in December. But they ended up presenting together following the fall announcement that Leo Group and MacManus would become part of the same global holding company with Dentsu.

Saatchi disproves satanic images in ad

[paris] Saatchi & Saatchi refuted allegations in France that a TV spot it created for Toyota's Yaris Verso car contains any subliminal satanic messages. French daily Le Parisien had published claims that the 30-second spot, if seen in slow motion, evokes satanic images and texts. The commercial features a husband jumping out of bed and into his car to meet his pregnant wife at the maternity ward. Saatchi brought together a panel of 11 people representing advertisers, government, and religious, family and anti-sect organizations to comb the 750 frames in the spot. Following the session, the agency concluded the ad didn't contain subliminal images.

Retail giants eye Philippines

[manila] Wal-Mart Stores, J.C. Penny Co. and other foreign retailers are planning to enter the Philippines in 2000. The move follows approval by the country's House of Representatives of proposed legislation allowing foreign investors to enter the highly protected retail sector. The Senate is expected to approve the bill in the first quarter, said a top official at the Philippine Department of Trade & Industry. Wal-Mart plans to build five to 10 warehouse-style stores initially. Other retailers planning to enter the Philippines include Carrefour of France, Seiyu of Japan and Hong Kong-based Well-Come.

McD's unit makes big debut in China

[beijing] McDonald's Corp. drew 30,000 consumers to the new restaurant it opened Dec. 25 in Chengdu, capital city of southwest China's Sichuan province. The Chengdu Business Post reported the huge number of people who lined up to get a taste of the American fast-food. By the time the outlet ended its first day at 11:30 p.m., its employees had served up more than 20,000 sandwiches, 27,000 pieces of chicken wings and 14,000 cups of drinks.

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