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[tokyo] H&T Worldwide is the name of the joint venture being set up by Hakuhodo and Omnicom Group's TBWA Worldwide, New York, to manage the nearly $1.1 billion account of troubled Nissan Motor Co. The venture will set up three global branches -- in Japan, the U.S. and Europe -- with H&T Japan handling Nissan ads in the automaker's home market. The Japanese venture will be 80% owned by Hakuhodo. H&T USA will be 80% owned by TBWA. Renault, after acquiring Nissan, put Carlos Ghosn in place as Nissan's chief operating officer. Last fall, Mr. Ghosn directed the two agencies to work more closely together to build a consistent global brand image for Nissan. In Europe, TBWA and Hakuhodo have a decade-old joint venture headquartered in Amsterdam. In December, Hakuhodo and TBWA agreed to set in motion plans to form a joint venture to cooperate with Nissan on a global basis (AA, Dec. 6).

So. African agency group seeks more blacks

[johannesburg] The Association of Advertising Agencies, whose members handle about 80% of South Africa's annual measured ad spending, unveiled a tough "Transformation Charter" that requires 40% of agency staffs to be black within four years. The present level is 26%. AAA membership is now conditional on acceptance of the charter. Agencies will have to submit "employment equity plans" by the end of March, setting out programs for achieving equal opportunity in the workplace. Progress will be monitored, and failure to meet targets could result in expulsion from the AAA. A list of non-complying agencies could be published and made available to the Association of Marketers and to the government, which would probably result in lost business. While the target seems easily achievable, given the fact that 85% of the population is black, few blacks are attracted to advertising. Those blacks who do enter advertising often are lured into better-paying jobs with clients.

Gucci plans to expand Yves St. Laurent, Rossi

[rome] The Gucci Group is set to expand the North American presence of Yves St. Laurent and Sergio Rossi, the two luxury goods marketers it acquired for a reported $5 billion last year. The fashion group plans to open at least five new Yves St. Laurent stores in the U.S. and Canada. Currently, there is only one Yves St. Laurent outlet on the continent, in New York. For Sergio Rossi, Gucci plans to add more women's accessories, including belts and handbags, to the line. Currently, nearly 80% of Rossi's $60 million in annual sales comes from women's shoes.

Telemundo to relaunch Latin cable network

[miami] Telemundo today will relaunch 24-hour cable news channel CBS Telenoticias as Telemundo Internacional. CBS Telenoticias, a Spanish- and Portuguese-language news channel for Latin America, was first launched by CBS in December 1994. Mexico's Grupo Medcom purchased a 70% stake in the struggling channel in September 1998. But the channel sought bankruptcy protection in July 1999, and Telemundo purchased the assets last month for $2.3 million. The No. 2 U.S. Hispanic network is broadening the content to include entertainment information, reality programming and sports shows.

Nintendo, Dentsu link for videogame software

[tokyo] Nintendo Co. and Dentsu are teaming up to form a videogame software company. Called ND Cube, the company started operations March 1. It will use the agency's knowledge of media to build markets for games based on the know-how of Nintendo. ND Cube has initial capital of $2.7 million with Nintendo holding a 78% stake and Dentsu 13.3%; the remainder will be held by software development staff. ND Cube will develop software for the next generation of Nintendo's videogame consoles as well as for the company's Gameboy portable player. The joint venture also could help Dentsu tap the possibility of using videogame consoles for advertising.

Starbucks makes plans to perk up Hong Kong

[hong kong] Starbucks, already a trendy hangout elsewhere in the Pacific Rim, is coming to Hong Kong after years of searching for a local partner. Starbucks Coffee International formed a joint venture with Maxim's Caterers; the first store is scheduled to open in Hong Kong by the third quarter of fiscal 2000. Founded in 1956, Maxim's has nearly 300 Hong Kong food sites. Hong Kong will be the 14th international market for Starbucks; Pacific Rim countries already account for 10 of those markets. Starbucks uses advertising in many Asian markets, but has not decided whether to appoint an agency in Hong Kong to differentiate its brand from the extensive local competition.

Unilever to run U.K.'s first interactive TV ad

[london] Unilever will launch what's being called the U.K.'s first national interactive ad at the end of March to promote Chicken Tonight's Stir It Up sauce. The ad will air to pay-TV operator British Sky Broadcasting Digital's 2.6 million homes. Agencies involved in the promotion include Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, J. Walter Thompson Co. and Initiative Media. In the pilot interactive ad, viewers will be asked to look at a "dedicated advertiser location" in Open, a free interactive digital TV service. Open will take viewers to Unilever's Creative Kitchen service, which uses full-motion video and audio to find recipes using Unilever products. By pressing the blue button on the remote control, viewers can then go online and apply for a coupon for Chicken Tonight's Stir It Up.

P&G, Gillette heat things up in Russia

[moscow] Procter & Gamble Co. is cutting prices for Tide and Ariel detergents by 25% and 10%, respectively, in Russia, while boosting the standard pack size for Comet by 25% without a price increase. The household products giant is making the moves to restore its lead in the Russian detergent market. Before the country's current economic crisis, P&G enjoyed a 42% slice of the detergent market, but has seen its share slide to 20%, according to market research company GFK. "We want to make our goods more affordable to Russian customers," said Yury Obozov, deputy director for Novomoskovskbytkhim, which produces the brands here for P&G. Leo Burnett/Moradpour and Saatchi & Saatchi will create advertising to support the price cuts. In addition, P&G is looking at ways to expand its sales via street markets and bazaars, where most Russians do their shopping. Also eyeing bazaars as a sales outlet is Gillette Co., which is launching a new scent in Russia. Arctic Ice is part of the Gillette Series of men's shaving products. The three existing scents -- Cool Wave, Pacific Light and Wild Rain -- were first launched in North America. The Arctic Ice variety is aimed at young men dedicated to sports. The name was chosen after research found that young men associate the arctic with courage and adventure. BBDO Worldwide will create a launch campaign, including TV. Arctic Ice will hit the U.S. next and roll out to other countries.

Nike finds humor in addiction ad theme

[rio de janeiro] Athletes confess to their sports addictions in a new Nike campaign in Brazil. The print and radio spots created by Giovanni FCB feature "anonymous athletes" confessing their addictions as if they were at a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. "Addicts" include soccer stars Ronaldinho Gaucho and Roberto Carlos, who are identified only by their initials. They blame Nike products for stimulating their addictions to sports. The ads retain the tagline "Running is basic." "We tried to draw the attention to new Nike products in Brazil in a creative way, with humor," said Steve Hevesi, Nike's marketing director in Brazil.

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