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Rover awards AKQA new media

[london] Rover Group has appointed London new media agency and Web developer AKQA to develop global Internet communications at both a corporate and branded level. The assignment, which AKQA claims is one of the biggest new-media accounts in the world, will produce a Rover Group World Wide Web site by October, followed by international sites for the Rover Cars, MG and Land Rover brands. "Our strategy will be all about localization, not translation," said Ajaz Ahmed, managing director of AKQA. "It's about ensuring that the branding is global, but that local differences are accounted for."

Spanish-language online news bows

[hialeah, fla.] A new regional online channel for Spanish-language news will launch in Latin America in the fall in an agreement between regional Spanish news network CBS TeleNoticias and StarMedia Network. At www.cbstelenoticias., CBS TeleNoticias will be the exclusive provider of 24-hour Spanish-language news programming for StarMedia Network.

Visa boosts central global marketing

[san francisco] Visa International has bolstered its global marketing force with a new structure to put greater emphasis on strategy and to bring added cohesion to its marketing activities worldwide. The reorganization of Visa's International Marketing Group involves the creation of three new senior VP posts and additional responsibilities for a fourth. The new areas of focus are strategic marketing/marketplace monitoring, international event management and global partnerships, brand management and corporate relations. These functions will be overseen by Jan Soderstrom, Visa's exec VP for international marketing. Brand marketing will be led by Caroline McNally, formerly VP-global brand marketing. Tom Shepard will handle partner marketing and sponsorship management; he had been an executive at Millsport. Corporate relations will be headed by Louise Tingstrom, from her own consultancy in Paris. Harvey Bondar, senior VP-market research, will manage a new strategic marketing group.

Toyota plans hybrid launch

[tokyo] Toyota Motor Corp. plans to market hybrid cars that use a gasoline motor in conjunction with an electric motor in the U.S. and Europe after the car's launch in Japan later this year. An exact date for the car's launch has not been set. Advertising for the car is being handled by Dentsu as part of Toyota's Eco Project, which focuses on the car manufacturer's environmental protection initiatives.

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