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SYDNEY-Qantas Airways introduced a $64 million global ad campaign last week around the late Peter Allen's song "I Still Call Australia Home," revamped and subtly personalized by a new generation of popular Australian musicians.

The new campaign, the first since Mojo Australia won the account last year from D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, plays a critical role in the airline's biggest overhaul in its history.

The remake, sans emphasis on the familiar Qantas koala, is key to Qantas' bid to recapture its lost glory ahead of its $2 billion public stock offering next March or April.

Chief Executive James Strong has publicly acknowledged that Qantas has slipped behind other leading Asia/Pacific carriers. Qantas also has fallen to No. 2 domestically behind Ansett Airlines.

There's a deja vu feel to the new ads that are nostalgically similar in sound, though not visually, to an earlier Peter Allen commercial Mojo created for Qantas in the mid-1980s. Qantas moved to DMB&B in 1991.

Mojo received full credit as the airline's creative agency despite recent debate about what role Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising is playing. Saatchi, the main agency of British Airways, which owns 25% of Qantas, is in charge of all media buying and price-item advertising outside Australia and New Zealand, plus a new campaign to break in October announcing the global alliance among British Airways, Qantas, USAir and some regional European carriers.

Doug Watson, now a consultant to ad agencies and a former president of Chiat/Day, New York, and chief executive of Mojo here, has been the leading creative force in the new Qantas campaign.

In Sydney for the launch, he told friends the concept was presented to Qantas only 34 days earlier, confirming industry speculation that the airline had been unhappy with earlier concepts by Mojo.

The advertising premiered Aug. 19 on Australian national TV. The spots, with the tagline "Qantas. A world of change," are richly filmed against varied, famous international backdrops such as the Statue of Liberty, Great Wall of China and Sydney Opera House.

The principal "image" commercial is complemented by spots showing off new facilities and smiling staff wearing new uniforms. By next month, the advertising will break in U.S., Europe and Japan in the campaign that runs through June 30.

"Our advertising research indicates that Australians are looking for ads from us that give them a sense of pride in Qantas and link the airline emotionally to Australia," said Geoff Dixon, the airline's general manager of marketing and corporate affairs.

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