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(July 25, 2001) NEW DELHI -- The Starcom MediaVest Group officially launched its mediabusinesses as one specialist unit in India today. Starcom India is born after a yearlong process of merging the media businesses of all three BCom3 agencies in India: Leo Burnett India, Ambience D'Arcy and Orchard Advertising.

Starcom India will be headed by media and Lintas veteran Andrey Purushottam. Starcom India will handle media planning, buying and research for all Ambience and Leo Burnett clients, as well as for companies that don't use those above-the-line shops.

Starcom India, set up as Leo Burnett's media arm in January, is already working for clients such as Procter & Gamble Co., Dabur Health Care, Bayer Consumer Products and Acer India.

The newly enlarged agency plans to take on additional work via alliances with smaller agencies and will consider acquisitions. It also hopes to set up a separate division for sports marketing, as well as for entertainment marketing. Starcom Digital already exists to handle interactive accounts.

Keith Moran, chief executive of Starcom MediaVest Group Asia, said, "It is critical we deliver the best strategic product married to superlative buying. This will ensure that not only are we doing the right thing, but we are doing it more efficiently than others. Effectiveness and efficiency are our twin goals."

Starcom India has branches in Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta and Bangalore.

Starcom and MediaVest operate as separate brands in eight markets where there are intractable client conflicts, such as in the U.S., where Starcom handles McDonald's and MediaVest has Burger King. But in India, the companies believe there are no "dramatic" conflicts. -- Sarika Gupte and Ritesh Gupta

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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