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Ad spending in U.S. to rise 5.5% in '04

[london] U.S. ad spending is forecast to grow by 5.5% in 2004, a slight upgrade from the 5.3% rise predicted in July by Publicis Groupe's ZenithOptimedia and more than double 2003 growth of just 2.1%. In 2005, without the spending boost of the Olympics and a presidential election, ZenithOptimedia is estimating 4.2% growth, up slightly from 4.1% in earlier forecasts. U.S. ad-spending growth is underpinned by car marketers spending heavily to lure hesitant buyers, and brand owners laying out more to counter increasing retailer power, ZenithOptimedia said. Ad spending is forecast to grow in Europe by 4.7% this year and 4.4% in 2005, and in Asia by 7.3% this year and 5.7% in 2005. Overall, ZenithOptimedia sees worldwide ad spending growing by 6.2% this year.

HSBC rolls out first ad from JWT

[london] HSBC launched its first TV advertising by J. Walter Thompson since moving its global account to WPP Group in May from Interpublic Group of Cos. The spot, to break in the U.S. later this year, is airing in the U.K. and on CNN International and other global channels. The theme is similar to the "World's Local Bank" campaign by previous agency Lowe & Partners, showing how global travelers can unwittingly communicate the wrong message if they fail to understand local cultures and traditions. In the spot, a young Englishman falls in love with a beautiful Italian girl and woos her with flowers. He leaves chrysanthemums on her doorstep, unaware that the flower is associated with death in Italy. Locals think the girl died, and bunches of chrysanthemums pile up on her doorstep, much to her bewilderment. -alexandra jardine

MTV launches cell program in Japan

[tokyo] MTV started an ad-supported program for mobile phones called MTV Hayadashi on Oct. 10 in Japan, through a deal with Japanese mobile-phone giant KDDI. The wireless program links MTV's existing mobile-phone content with its TV programming from MTV Japan and Web-site content. MTV Hayadashi will be delivered to mobile phones via a three-minute stream featuring clips of the latest music videos presented by MTV VJs. The program will feature five-second spots produced for MTV advertisers in Japan. Each ad will be seen two to three times within the program.

KDDI users will receive the program free of charge each Sunday for an exclusive 24-hour window. After that, it will be available to any mobile user on MTV Japan's free mobile site. -normandy madden

U.K. bans phrase from Frosties ads

[london] Kellogg Co. has been banned from using the phrase "eat right" in ads for Frosties cereal, after the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint about a cinema ad for the product.

In the commercial, by Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, boys play soccer in the streets of Rio de Janeiro and are coached by Tony the Tiger. A member of the public complained that the tagline "Train hard, eat right and earn your stripes" in a spot depicting sport misleadingly implied the sugary cereal is healthy.

Kellogg argued that Frosties is low in fat and has long supported sports.

The ASA ruled that Kellogg cannot repeat the "eat right" claim in future ads.

The ruling comes as food marketers are under intense scrutiny in the U.K. in the light of the child-obesity debate. But the efforts of marketers such as Kellogg, which has launched several healthy-eating initiatives, often backfire when their products are still deemed to be high in salt or sugar. -alexandra jardine

FYI . . .

Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide is putting together a European public relations network called Pleon by merging the offices of two other PR groups, ECC Group and Brodeur. Pleon is headed by CEO Europe Rainer Zimmermann, previously CEO of BBDO Germany. Alex Schoep is president, Europe. ... Weight Watchers has consolidated its $16 million pan-European media account with WPP's Mediaedge:cia following a pitch involving Interpublic's Universal McCann, Aegis Group's Carat and Publicis' ZenithOptimedia.

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