Let's do lunch / Inside the world of advertising

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The Independent Online
The "copy-cat" war between Citroen and Volkswagen rages on. Only weeks ago, the companies' respective agencies, Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper and BMP DDB, both launched press ads to promote in-car air-conditioning which parodied Sure deodorant commercials (sweating drivers retained a dry patch in the shape of the car's logo). VW fretted that this constituted a "nightmare situation", but Citroen and Euro RSCG joyfully followed up with a comparison of the Sure ads which claimed that Volkswagen's air-conditioning was pricey, with the strapline: "Who's sweating now?" Oddly, VW took a dim view of the comparison, and last week referred Citroen to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Immediately after that referral, VW launched an ad depicting a VW Polo admiring itself in a mirror. Blunder of blunders! Citroen had used a mirror in similar ads last November. Citroen's account director at Euro RSCG, Paul Uhart, told Campaign: "We are very flattered that Volkswagen continues to have the same ideas as us."

Abbott Mead Vickers' recent purchase of Pattison Horswell Durden already looks like costing an account or two. First to put its work on review is telephone bank First Direct, which wishes to avoid a conflict with fellow AMV-PHD client, Prudential, which is launching a direct banking service later this year. The newly merged outfit has yet to come to some decision on its sanitary protection conflict (Tampax vs Lil-lets). But AMV's managing director Andrew Robertson gave a hint to one of those clients last week in Campaign: "Tambrands is the priority client. If it comes to the push, Lil-lets will have to go."

Arc Advertising has issued a writ against Sunday Business for pounds 75,000 in unpaid fees, relating to work carried out on the paper's launch campaign. The paper's founder, Tom Rubython, is alleged to have issued a cheque for that amount without having enough in the bank to honour it. If only the newspaper too had such bounce!

In a similar move, Sunday Business promised agency WCRS 350,000 readers in order to secure advertising from Railtrack, BMW and Orange. But circulation never reached higher than the first week's 145,000. Is WCRS going to sue too? No, but it has declined to pay for the ads.