Germans see red as energy giant unveils campaign

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DUESSELDORF--For the last couple of weeks, Germans have been confounded by a series of outdoor and double-page print ads displaying nothing more than a warm red color. The absence of any text or logo has sparked off debate among consumers: is this an ad for the Social Democratic Party or new telephone service Talkline, which both sport red corporate colors?

Finally, the teaser campaign has come to an end. A few words are now appearing in front of the red background: "e-on New Energy.""E-on" is the new name for the $38 million merger between chemical and energy giants VEBA and VIAG. The e-commerce name will be promoted in a $25 million campaign until the end of the year.

Duesseldorf-based Grey Worldwide is handling strategy, corporate publishing and direct marketing, while Munich-based Start is creating TV and print work.

"With the pure red ads and posters we wanted to draw attention and awareness," said Joerg Zabel, unit manager at Start.

A full-fledged TV, print and outdoor campaign breaks in August.

Copyright July 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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