Philip Morris' body art promo pulls Russian TV coverage

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MOSCOW--Although tobacco advertising is forbidden on Russian TV, a marketing stunt for Chesterfield cigarettes by Union Linx, Philip Morris' promotional agency, is attracting widespread coverage by TV news crews.

This week in Moscow professional painters and amateur artists are taking part in body art contests. Similar "ChestARTfield'' contests have been organized in other Russian cities, such like St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Volgogad and Rostov.

"All TV crews are crazy about our promotions," says Julia Shpeter, a manager of Union Linx.

In another art effort, Union Linx gathered 2,500 people in the town of Rostov to help paint the parking lot of a helicopter plant. "After the ugly square was turned into multi-colored and multi-pictured place, every local TV channel showed it in the news. Even the military managers of the helicopter plant were grateful," Ms. Shpeter says.

The promotion was heavily supported by Maximum, the third largest FM radio-station in Russia.

Copyright September 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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