Leo Burnett resigns Mercedes U.K. for Fiat across Europe

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LONDON -- Leo Burnett London has ended its four year hold on the U.K. Mercedes-Benz account because of future potential conflict with Fiat. The agency is part of one of two regional networks handling Fiat across Europe.

Steve Garfield, chief executive officer at Leo Burnett London says: "It is inevitable that the client who has shown greatest enthusiasm for a network relationship would emerge in favour of a single country assignment." Burnett also holds the Fiat business in India, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela.

But the Milton Kynes, Buckinghamsire-based U.K. office of Mercedes-Benz claims the reason for the resignation is unfounded. "We don't understand why this change is necessary as the A-Class does not compete with any Fiat models," says Head of Corporate Communications John Evans in a statement. The A-Class small car is due to launch in 1998.

A new agency will be appointed, probably via a pitch process, he adds.In the interim, ads which are already prepared will "continue to be released as part of our program". Leo Burnett says it will still work closely with Mercedes-Benz "to endure a seamless transition" until it finds a replacement.

The Daimler-Benz subsidiary's other agencies around the world are BBDO and BDDP. BBDO holds the domestic German business, plus that in Austria, Greece, Australia and Venezuela, while BDDP is responsible for various Asian markets.

BREMEN -- German coffee marketer Eduscho has named Hamburg- based agency Block Nagel to handled its $24m Eduscho coffee account. BBDO had handled the account for the last 10 years with the exception of one year when Saatchi & Saatchi Frankfurt handled. Among the finalists for the pitch was Michael Conrad & Leo Burnett.

In addition to the $24 million coffee account, Block Nagel will handle advertising for the non-food items that the Eduscho markets through its stores. Block Nagle started up two years ago as a break away from Scholz & Friends.

MEXICO CITY -- Major advertisers are reportedly threatening to pull their commercials off the air, rather than have them appear during shows with violent content.

Eugenio Velasco, president of the Mexican Association of Advertising Agencies told reporters that such shows as Naked City (Ciudad Desnuda), En Video, and First Impact (Primer Impacto) are the worst offenders.The shows feature real-life crime and emergencies which usually involve violence.

Advertisers cite their feelings of social responsibility as reasons for considering cancelling commercials, Velasco said. Velasco is now on vacation and therefore not available to name advertisers who have expressed their concern. However, the president of a prominent agency said Bimbo, a national bread company, has expressed objections to his agency.

Mexico's President Ernesto Zedillo criticized current programming which contains violence during his state-of-the- nation address to congress, but he did not name offending programs.

Velasco said it has been widely agreed among media researchers, sociologists, and legislators that the government should step in and do something. The government's interior ministry is responsible for regulating television, but officials say this consists of determining at what hour programs with violence or with adult themes may be shown. The shows are restricted to late evening hours.

Copyright September 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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