Bates Asia gets another chance

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[Hong Kong] WPP Group is relaunching Hong Kong-based Bates Asia as it closes the Bates network in the rest of the world following WPP's August acquisition of Bates' parent Cordiant Communications Group. In Asia, direct marketing division 141 Worldwide and interactive unit XM will continue to operate under the Bates umbrella, while Bates Asia is repositioned as a specialist regional network reporting directly to WPP. "There is a worldwide swing towards local relevancy over consistency," said Jeffrey Yu, regional president, Bates Asia, in Hong Kong. "So our best opportunity is not a global approach." Bates Asia's new logo and corporate identity express the network's renewed focus on locally relevant approaches through a motif of falling grains of rice, with each office featuring different types of rice. Bangkok, for example, uses Thai Jasmine, while the Tokyo office features Japanese short grain. In other regions, Bates was folded into other WPP networks- JWT in the U.S., Young & Rubicam in Latin America and Red Cell in Europe. But in Asia, Bates built a relatively thriving business from three regional clients, Nokia, HSBC and Heineken. Along with BAT's 555 cigarette brand, the four clients account for roughly 80% of Bates' business in Asia.