Munn joins BBH for 'brand invention'

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[london] Unilever's former global brand director on Axe/Lynx, Neil Munn, has joined Bartle Bogle Hegarty to launch a "brand invention" company called Zag. The goal is to create new brands to license or sell to third parties in return for a share of sales revenues.

Mr. Munn, Zag's CEO, said, " BBH has fantastic idea-generating power. It understands brands so well but until now that skill set has been deployed on a very narrow canvas. There is so much more that the agency can do. There's always a shortage of big new brand ideas."

Zag is a Bartle Bogle-financed global initiative involving all the micro-network's offices-London, New York, Singapore, Tokyo, Sao Paulo and Shanghai. The division intends to exploit what it calls "brandlag," defined as "the space where levels of consumer activity are ahead of levels of brand or commercial activity."

While at Unilever, Mr. Munn extended the Axe brand into shower and fine fragrances, and he also developed a new Chinese tea brand while general manager in Hong Kong. Mr. Munn will be based in London but expects to do a lot of traveling, and is already on a Bartle Bogle office tour. "My key priority is to harness the idea-generating power of the BBH network," he said. "I am talking to all the offices so that they understand that Zag is now a key part of BBH's strategic agenda."

Bartle Bogle CEO Nigel Bogle said, "A really powerful idea is the last remaining unfair advantage in business. We manufacture ideas that become component parts of brands. Most great brands themselves begin with an idea. Furthermore, the enduring values in brands are increasingly the intangible and emotional values."

Zag's name comes from Bartle Bogle's own motto, "When the world zigs, Zag," illustrated by one black sheep facing in a different direction from a whole herd of identical white sheep.

-emma hall

Marcel unveils first Coke spot in France

[paris] Publicis Groupe's year-old Paris creative hot shop Marcel is running its first Coca-Cola spot in France. In the commercial "Tamtam," filmed in Rio de Janeiro, a young drummer draws a dancing crowd with his mesmerizing beat. His drum is torn, leaving him silent and despondent until a boy gives him a bottle of Coke. The drink inspires him to tear off his shirt, and begin drumming on his own chest, and the Brazilians pick up the beat. Derk Hendriksen, Coke's brand director for colas, said, "It's all about uplifting refreshment and about taking responsibility and making sure your world becomes a happier place."

-laurel wentz

GM to hold pitch for Opel and Vauxhall

[london] General Motors Corp. has asked three roster agencies to pitch for a $50 million pan-European umbrella campaign for its Opel and Vauxhall brands. Contenders are McCann Erickson Frankfurt, 180 Amsterdam and Delaney Lund Knox Warren, London. Lowe London, a long-time Vauxhall shop, was not included. Opel's European headquarters in Frankfurt is running the pitch.

General Motors is called Vauxhall only in the U.K. and Opel in the rest of Europe. The same work will run for both brands. Until 2004, when Alain Visser was named Opel's executive director of marketing and the equivalent post at Vauxhall was abolished, Vauxhall and Opel marketing was developed separately. Since then, the two brands are more closely aligned. Now executives close to the business suspect cost-cutters at GM want to drop the Vauxhall name and integrate all of Europe under the Opel banner.

McCann Frankfurt won a recent pitch for a new model, the Antara SUV. This will be the first time McCann, Opel's main pan-European agency, creates work that will run for the Vauxhall brand as well as Opel.

-emma hall

Naked, Posterscope make plans to do Lunch

[london] Naked Communications, a strategic communications company, and Posterscope, an out-of-home ad planning business, are backing the launch of a U.K. "brand activation" company called Lunch. The two managing partners are the former European marketing director of MTV, Sav Hadjigeorgiou, and Malcom Cox, previously marketing director of Emap's U.K. TV and radio division.

Mr. Cox defined brand activation as "taking an idea irrespective of the channel and creating a deeper experience for the consumer."

John Harlow, founding partner of Naked Communications, hinted that the idea might be taken across borders eventually. Naked has already expanded from London to New York and Australia. Mr. Cox agreed, "We eventually want to do this on a worldwide stage."

Mr. Cox, Mr. Hadjigeorgiou and five employees, including two from Naked and one from MTV, have already worked together on projects for Bacardi, H&M and telephone directory service The Number, involving parties, street performances, events and PR.

"As a marketing director I always believed in this kind of activity but there was never an agency that could deliver it," Mr. Cox said. "We'd go to our ad agency and then watch the ideas wither on the vine."

-emma hall
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