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[hamburg] AOL Europe, a joint partnership between America Online and Bertelsmann, appointed Grey Advertising, Duesseldorf, to handle its German account. It previously worked with Hamburg agencies Scholz & Friends and Faktor 3 on a project basis. Grey will open an office here to service the client. The immediate task for AOL European manager Andreas Schmidt is to grab market leadership from Deutsche Telekom's T-Online, which has about 2 million subscribers to AOL's 1 million users in Germany. Europewide, AOL reaches 2.8 million households, making it the largest pan-European Internet online service.

MindShare opens its first L. America office

[mexico city] WPP Group-owned media buyer MindShare is making its Latin American debut in Mexico with the launch of MindShare de Mexico, which will be the country's second-largest media outfit. WPP has plans to open a second office in the region later this year in Colombia before expanding across the region, said David Byles, president of MindShare Latin America. MindShare de Mexico has a staff of 65, mostly employees from J. Walter Thompson Co. and Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, whose media departments were merged into MindShare.

Y&R's Media Edge expands in Asia

[manila] Young & Rubicam this month expands Media Edge to China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. The media buying and planning agency will draw on a number of proprietary products and resources, including Y&R's brand intelligence tools (Brand Asset valuator).

WPP to acquire U.K. new-media shop NoHo

[london] WPP Group, on behalf of its OgilvyOne Worldwide subsidiary, will acquire new-media agency NoHo Digital. Founded in 1994, NoHo Digital has created interactive campaigns for such clients as Virgin, MTV, Sony PlayStation and Egg, the online bank service of Prudential Banking. NoHo Digital will be merged with OgilvyOne's OgilvyInteractive, under the leadership of NoHo founder Tim Carrigan.

'Cosmo' readies Sept. debut in Romania

[bucharest, romania] Hearst Magazines is set to launch Cosmopolitan in Romania next September under a joint venture with Dutch publisher VNU. The monthly will compete primarily with Elle, the only other international women's magazine in the Romanian market. Cosmo Editor in Chief Elena Francisc is confident there will be a demand for the magazine. "Women need Cosmopolitan here," she asserted. "I'm surprised Elle came before Cosmo to this country because it's so fashion-oriented, and the fashion industry isn't so well developed here, whereas Cosmo is like a friend. Romanian women need that. There are so many taboos that exist here." Editorial will be about 50% local content and 50% adaptation. It will focus slightly less on fashion and more on beauty, in line with the priorities of Romanian women and advertisers.

Philips inks sponsorship of 2000 soccer tourney

[amsterdam] Philips signed on as sponsor of the UEFA European Championship Soccer 2000, to be held next summer in Belgium and the Netherlands. As a major sponsor, Philips has the right to advertise its products around all the live TV broadcasts of Euro 2000 matches. It also can use the official Euro 2000 logo in a wide range of soccer-theme advertising and promotional activities. Product categories covered by the sponsorship include shaving and personal-care products, mobile phones, batteries, lighting, home appliances, broadcast equipment, and a wide range of professional systems and equipment. Other sponsors include Coca-Cola Co., Fuji, MasterCard International and McDonald's Corp.

Coca-Cola Light relaunch; Coke in theme park deal

[caracas] Coca-Cola Co. is relaunching Coca-Cola Light in Venezuela with a new taste formula and package design. The message of a campaign from Leo Burnett Co., centering on a new taste and less than 1 calorie per serving, is directed at twentysomethings who want to look and feel good but are not into fanatical exercising and dieting. A sampling initiative aims to reach half the product's target audience in Caracas and nine other major cities. Coca-Cola also promoted the brand with a May 28 event called "Light Day" at Caracas' biggest mall and entertainment center. Since its introduction in 1994, Coca-Cola Light has become leader of the low-calorie soft-drink segment, attaining a 60% share with little ad support, Coca-Cola said. The goal of the new campaign is to double sales by widening the consumer base. Separately in Japan, Coca-Cola Co. won the soft-drink concession for Universal Studios' theme park scheduled in open in 2001 in Osaka. The contract, expected to last 10 years, will give Coca-Cola exclusive rights for soft drinks at the park, which is expected to attract about 8 million visitors in its first year. Coca-Cola will sponsor an attraction based on the movie "Waterworld" and a restaurant. The contract is a minor coup for Coca-Cola. Beverage and liquor marketer Suntory, which distributes Pepsi-Cola products in Japan, is based in the Osaka region and was considered to have an inside track because of its regional strength. Universal Studios Japan officials said there are about 15 to 20 sponsorship deals remaining for the park, including the alcohol concession.

Turkish ISP backs subscription package

[istanbul] Internet service provider Vestel Net launched a major ad and sales promotion campaign announcing its new Veezy Go! subscription package. The company aims to sign up 200,000 new subscribers through its free PC promotion. Vestel Net will give those who agree to subscribe to the service for three years a computer and modem. Vestel Net board member Orhan Goksal said the low penetration of PCs within the home is seen as a major obstacle to Internet use in Turkey. Euro RSCG Turkish affiliate Euro RSCG Klan created the print, TV and outdoor campaign promoting the PC giveaway. The ISP is a subsidiary of computer and consumer electronics marketer Vestel Elektronik.

DMB&B switches agency ties in India

[mumbai, india] MacManus Group's D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles is acquiring a majority stake in Ambience Advertising, which is being renamed Ambience D'Arcy. With this move, DMB&B ends its association in India with Madison Advertising, in which it held a 20% stake. Ambience has capitalized billings of $15 million. Madison, with annual billings of $46 million, will lose creative business aligned globally with DMB&B, such as Procter & Gamble Co.'s Whisper and Vicks. However, media buying for part of P&G, as well as outside big media clients such as Coca-Cola Co., may remain with Madison.

Financial Times Group backs Web site with ads

[london] The Financial Times Group unveiled a $3.2 million print and TV campaign to raise the profile of its Internet site ( "Our intention is to build's brand to make it the definitive information point for business people looking for any kind of information," said Michael Forster, managing director of The print campaign will run in June and July in the Evening Standard, Financial Times, weeklies such as The Economist and Marketing Week, and across leading U.K. Web sites. A TV burst will follow in July consisting of 10- and 20-second commercials. "FT. Completely mad about business" is the theme of the campaign from Delaney Fletcher Bozell and Modern Media-Poppe Tyson. Western Initiative Media Worldwide handles buying and planning.

Wimbledon lands on pay TV in Germany

[munich] The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships will air for the first time only on pay TV in Germany, angering thousands of local tennis fans eager to watch the tournament's former German champions Steffi Graf and Boris Becker. Leo Kirch's Munich station DF.1 is launching an ad campaign through Start Advertising to promote its exclusive association with the prestigious tennis tournament. The print campaign breaks in Axel Springer's tabloid Bild Zeitung, in which Leo Kirch is a shareholder. The advertising features Mr. Becker and Ms. Graf with a red cross over their faces. It explains that only DF.1 members will be able to watch the tennis stars. DF.1, with only 300,000 members, acquired the Wimbledon rights for three years in a deal with Prisma Sports & Media, London. In previous years, the Bertelsmann-owned free-TV station RTL has transmitted the games. This year, only the men's and women's finals will be aired via a free TV sports channel, DSF. Unlike in France and the U.K., pay-TV has not yet taken off in Germany.

Milky Way has taste for humor in Russia

[moscow] Mars Inc. has asked D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles here to inject humor into its Milky Way advertising in an attempt to motivate both children and parents to eat more of the candy bars. The new tack ends a five-year focus on the wholesome ingredients in a Milky Way. The new ads will break soon on major national TV channels, including ORT, NTV and RTR. "We want Milky Way not to be just a candy for children. We want it to bear additional qualities -- like an atmosphere of love in the whole family as well," said Milky Way Brand Manager July Baunova. The main idea behind the new campaign is to show that it isn't only children who eat Milky Way. It says if adults and parents eat Milky Ways, children have every right to treat parents like children -- like sending dad

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