Universo Online moves account in Brazil

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SAO PAULO--Universo Online, Brazil's strongest dot-com company,has moved its ad account from DM9DDB to Almap BBDO, Sao Paulo. The group'sfree Internet access service, Netgratuita, and free e-mail BOL accounts,previously with Almap BBDO, have been shifted to W/Brasil Sao Paulo.

The decision follows reports in the Brazilian media that Nizan Guanaes,which owns DM9DDB, had a financial interest in IG, a strong competitor toUOL's free Internet access service in Brazil.

UOL President Luis Frias says DM9DDB, which held the business for fouryears, had helped establish a strong brand in the country but that a different shop was necessary for the next stage in the Internet's developmentin Brazil. Almap BBDO proved itself through work with BOL, for example, hesays.

UOL has 650,000 subscribers in Brazil in more than 150 cities. It claimsto be the most visited Portuguese-speaking Web site in the world. The portal is in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela and theU.S., where it specifically targets Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking communities. In February, UOL entered Spain.

Netgratuita is UOL's newest service, which has already racked up 830,000users.

Copyright March 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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