[london] Pepsi-Cola Co. has changed the taste of its cola in France and packaged it with a new design, also on trial in the U.S. The test is being seen in press reports as a climbdown from Pepsi's international "Project Blue" strategy, launched just last year, and an admission that the $523 million marketing revamp has failed. "Project Blue" attempted to mark Pepsi as distinct by winning it ownership of the color blue against Coca-Cola's red. But the company is adamant that the drink's formula and concentration remains the same. France has been identified as a market where improvements needed to be made because it is one of three-along with Germany and Japan-where rival Coca-Cola dominates with a massive lead.
[ottawa] A new TV classification system, similar to the U.S. TV code, has been proposed for Canada and is likely to be up and running by September. A six-level rating system has been proposed by Action Committee on Violence on Television. The proposals include: C for children under 8, where any suggestion of aggressive behavior is limited to portrayals that are clearly imaginary; C8+ for children over 8, where realistic depictions of mild and infrequent violence would be allowed; FAM for all ages, for programs containing minimal and infrequent violence, and inoffensive slang; PA for Parental Advisory, where any depiction of conflict or aggression will be limited and moderate, and which may contain infrequent and mild profanity or mildly suggestive language and might contain brief scenes of nudity; 14+ for children 14 and over, where violence might be one of the dominant elements of the storyline but must be integral to the development of the plot or character, which could include strong or frequent use of profanity and might include scenes of nudity or sexual activity; and 18+ for adults, where violence, nudity and strong language are more dominant and which are intended for adult viewing. Some programming will be exempt from the ratings including news, documentaries, talk shows, music videos and variety programming.
[london] McDonald's Corp. has fallen foul of British etiquette by choosing a tartan design for new uniforms for its restaurant "hosts" and "hostesses." Different Scottish tartans historically belong to individual clans. Where McDonald's has tripped up is in choosing the tartan belonging to Clan Lindsay, rivals to the Donalds. It has been used for ties, scarves and waistcoats and rolled out to all its 764 U.K. restaurants. London's Evening Standard quotes an enraged Godfrey Lord Macdonald, chief of Clan Donald, (who, it says, commands the allegiance of every Donald, Macdonald or McDonald worldwide), complaining of a "complete lack of understanding of the name." McDonald's is taking it all in its stride. "This isn't to say that in the future we won't use the Macdonald color scheme," says spokesman Stephen Hall. "But this [Lindsay tartan] was exactly what we were looking for."
[london] Yardley is launching a new range of luxury bath products in France, followed by the Middle East, via Bozell Worldwide. This is Bozell's first creative assignment for Yardley since the formalization of its role as the company's international media and account coordinator in September last year. At that time, Yardley's international creative business remained at the Gotham Group.
[athens] Newsweek and New Communications are launching a Greek-language newsweekly called Tempo/Newsweek. The magazine will be published in Athens and will draw on the editorial and reporting provided by Newsweek's international network of bureau for about 35% of the content. The other 65% will be produced by Tempo/Newsweek's staff of 55 journalists. The magazine will have an initial circulation of 30,000 and will be distributed throughout Greece. Advertising will be sold in Greece by New Communications and elsewhere in the world by Newsweek International.
[new delhi] After years of dithering, India's government has approved a comprehensive broadcasting law that seeks to regulate the electronic media through guidelines and mandatory licenses. The key ingredients of the bill include an autonomous Broadcast Authority of India, which will license radio and TV broadcasters; a 49% limit on foreign investment in locally incorporated broadcasters uplinking from India; a 20% ceiling on cross-media ownership; and granting a degree of autonomy to state-run networks All-India Radio and TV broadcaster Doordarshan. The bill forms part of the government's efforts to regulate the 50-plus TV channels broadcast industry. Ad agencies will not be allowed to own local media, a rule already in force.
[london] Seiko Europe has appointed Osprey Communications to develop marketing concepts that will work worldwide for two new products. Osprey's win is the result of its success in previous projects for Seiko Europe, including that for Arctura, the latest watch in the Seiko Kinetic range that launched recently at the Basel Watch Fair in Switzerland. The new account does not include advertising. "Osprey will be helping create ideas which will perhaps be part of the way we promote [these products] around the world," says Seiko Europe Marketing Director Rob Wilson.
[ottawa] Dunhill and Accord cigarettes may be ordered to be removed from shelves in Canada, following new legislation restricting the promotion of tobacco, as their names are the same as other consumer products geared to youth or lifestyle. Dunhill, as well as being a cigarette brand, is also the name of pens and men's clothing. Similarly, Accord, made by Rothmans, is the name of a car made by American Honda Motor Corp. A letter seeking clarification of this part of the legislation has been sent to Health Canada from the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers' Council.
[hong kong] NBC Asia is to launch a specially produced channel for Japan on DirecTV Japan, the digital, direct-to-home, pay-TV service, in the final quarter of this year. This will be NBC's first step into the Japanese market. The new channel will take the most popular programming elements from the NBC, CNBC and MSNBC channels, to include general and business news programs from Asia and the U.S., plus arts, documentary, sports and children's programming, along with TV dramas and talk-shows.
[miami] Nickelodeon Latin America claims it has added more than 1 million homes to its distribution since its launch on Dec. 20 last year. It now claims a reach of more than 3 million multichannel homes in the region. The deals signed in the last four months by the Viacom-owned 24-hour kids' network include those with Cablevision and PCTV in Mexico; CPTV, which represents 34 systems and 80% of the multichannel market in Guatemala; and Cable Onda in Panama. "The tremendous impact Nickelodeon has had in only four months confirms what our research indicated prior to launch-Latin American kids were under-served in terms of television entertainment and were seeking a channel they could call their own," says Taran Swan, general manager of the network.
[singapore] D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles has divided its Asia-Pacific operations into two separate regions: Asia-Pacific North (for Hong Kong/China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Philippines) and Asia-Pacific South (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand). Barry Jones, current deputy managing director of DMB&B-Asia Pacific becomes president of Asia-Pacific North. Ken Lambert, current managing director of DMB&B Latin America, has been named president of A-P South. India and Pakistan offices of DMB&B will be reassigned to the DMB&B Middle East & Africa region, led by managing director Peter Davies.
[bombay] Coca-Cola Co.'s Indian subsidiary has cut the price of its canned soft drinks by 28%, citing enthusiastic consumer demand as the reason to exploit economies of scale. However, industry observers claim poor sales prompted the move. The poor performance of its flagship Coke soft drink, however, recently forced Coca-Cola to move the account to Chaitra Leo Burnett from McCann-