VW in U.K. turns to a Buzz-word

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Ten years ago, Ad Age's Bill Britt, editor of our London-based Daily World Wire intranet product, left his native U.S. for a career in marketing journalism in the U.K. He put down stakes in an English market town graced with an impressive medieval church spire, but cursed with the name Leighton Buzzard. Now, Bill notes, Volkswagen has given the hamlet another claim to fame -- a role in its ongoing "Any excuse [for a drive]" campaign with an outdoor board noting Leighton Buzzard is home to the Barron Knights, a group of comic singers that backed the Beatles on their first tour in 1963 and unfortunately continues to tour. Bill says he's just relieved the creatives at BMP DDB, London, haven't discovered that one of his neighbors was a member of 1980s pop icons Kajagoogoo, a group that makes it onto lists of what is best to forget about the '80s.

`Time Out' for new dining guide

Marketing doesn't always have to leave a bad taste. Sometimes it's downright minty. More than 250,000 mints at 200-plus maitre d' stands in NY restaurants tout "Eating & Drinking 2000," a new incursion by Time Out New York into Zagat's territory. The mints' packaging directs diners to newsstands, where the guide is debuting for $9.95. Zagat Survey Guides sell for $11.95. Time Out New York also is distributing cards with guides on how to tip, and more than 2,000 window stickers to restaurants that were reviewed in the guide.

Will Hanoi Hilton tout its concierge?

Vietnam is planning a $20 million tourism campaign in 2000. The ad blitz has the backing of the government, which has set up a national steering committee. Two possible hurdles: The advertising initially will be created in-house (or should we say in-country?) by gov't tourism officials. And, admits Paul Stoll, general manager of the Furama Resort in Da Nang, Vietnam needs to shake off its negative image. Adages recalls there's that old war thing involving the U.S., though by the time the ads break, that nastiness will have occurred in the previous millennium. Da Nang, once the site of a big U.S. military base, has already become a popular destination for cruise ships and tourists. As far as tourism goes, Stoll maintains: "Vietnam is set to become the new Thailand."

Steele-ing away. . . Y(awn)2K

Agency planner Jon Steele worked on advertising for the Nike bra proudly displayed at the win of the Women's World Cup, but his fascination with soccer hasn't ended. Steele says he will take a leave from his post as vice chairman at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, to move to London and write a novel about an American female soccer player in an English village. . . . Come Dec. 31, millions of Americans plan to party like it's 1899. This year's first holiday shopping study from the International Mass Retail Association reveals that big bashes are a bust, with 48% of Americans planning to stay home and do nothing this New Year's Eve; only 5% plan to attend a party that charges a fee. And a mere 14% plan to buy any kind of millennium memento, with most of those costing less than $20.M

Got an Adage? Tell Dan by phone, (312) 280-3109; fax, (312) 649-5331; or e-mail, dlippe@crain.com.

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