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[london] Four U.K. tobacco companies will challenge the European Union ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship, passed into European law July 30. The move by British American Tobacco Investments, Gallaher, Imperial and Rothmans (UK) is the industry's first effort to fight back since the directive became European law. The four companies, represented by the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association, have appealed to the U.K. High Court to send the directive back to the European Court of Justice. The companies argue the ban is illegal.

Agfa reviews $30 mil global ad account

[leverkusen, germany] Bayer film unit Agfa is reviewing its global account. Incumbents McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Frankfurt (international account), and Scholz & Friends, Hamburg (Germany account), are pitching, and Agfa also has asked Grey Advertising, DDB Needham Worldwide and Hamburg-based Springer & Jacoby. The account is said to be worth about $30 million.

`European' newspaper close to finding buyer

[london] The sale of The European was believed to be imminent, but it was unclear whether the buyer might be Bloomberg Ltd. Partnership or a consortium led by The European Editor in Chief Andrew Neil. Bloomberg has had talks with The European, said CEO Michael Bloomberg, but isn't interested because Bloomberg has other priorities for Europe. Mr. Neil's group wants to revamp the money-losing weekly newspaper into a business magazine and hoped for financial backing from Time Inc. Observers said Time Inc. rejected an equity stake, but Richard Atkinson, president of Time Inc. Atlantic, confirmed his company has agreed to provide services to the consortium.

Visa campaign to run in 30-plus countries

[london] Visa International is launching a multiregional campaign aiming to convey the global acceptance of the payment method. The TV, poster and airport ads -- tagged "Where there's sky above and ground below, it's the place for Visa" -- were devised by Saatchi & Saatchi here, with help from the Singapore and Auckland offices. The TV spot airs in 33 countries.

Starbucks plans '99 debut in China

[beijing] Starbucks Coffee International signed a licensing agreement with Beijing Mei Da Coffee Co. to enter this market in 1999. Since 1996, Starbucks has opened more than 40 retail sites in the Asia-Pacific and expects to have 200 stores in the region by 2000.

MTV to stop using colors of Indian flag

[bombay] MTV India agreed to drop the use of saffron, white and green -- the colors of the Indian flag -- on the channel's logo. MTV would have been charged for violating the Indian Flag Code and for disrespect to the Indian tricolor under the Cable Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995. In August 1997, the channel donned the Indian flag's colors in local telecasts to commemorate the nation's golden jubilee year of independence.

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