GLOBAL BRIEF: TBWA France’s e-venture aims to tap web wealth - Comwebco will assist web start-ups and share their success

By LISA CAMPBELL, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 26 November 1999 12:00AM

As dotcom fever burns ever more ferociously in Europe and not just the US, European networks are beginning to take action rather than simply talk about their on-line capabilities. One such example is TBWA’s group in France, Groupe BDDP, which this month has created a dotcom arm - with a difference.

As dotcom fever burns ever more ferociously in Europe and not just

the US, European networks are beginning to take action rather than

simply talk about their on-line capabilities. One such example is TBWA’s

group in France, Groupe BDDP, which this month has created a dotcom arm

- with a difference.



Comwebco is described as ’more than an internet division within a group’

by its initiator, the TBWA France chief executive, Nick Baum. Instead of

being tacked on to the group, it consists of representatives from the

group’s seven divisions, encompassing advertising, interactive, PR,

design, marketing services, media and corporate identity.



Yet the group already has the leading interactive company in France -

BDDP Tequila Interactive. Why not expand or improve its offering rather

than create a whole new entity?



’Using representatives from each of the divisions allows us to apply

specific areas of expertise in an e-commerce environment,’ Baum

explains.



’What this means is a broader offering. The process is all-encompassing,

enabling us to get involved from the earliest stages to the final launch

phase.’



The company proposes to work with start-ups from the ideas stage through

to developing a business plan, approaching venture capitalists,

developing a brand and corporate identity, website, database management

system and, finally, on or offline advertising. It will also monitor and

analyse consumer response.



One new client for whom it will offer all of these services is

uniondream.com - a company which aims to attract a large number of

consumers to a product or service to drive down the price. The kind of

things being offered are dream holidays and speciality cars. For other

clients, such as QXL.com, the company will provide just some of the

services.



And in the case of start-ups, the company promises to take up to half of

its remuneration in the form of equity, once it has covered its

fees.



The hope is that the stock will float, making dot.com millionaires out

of its agency staff.



Baum claims that, like elsewhere, e-commerce is exploding in France.



Last June, there were 600 French commercial websites. By November that

figure had risen to 1,500.



And the boom is predicted to continue, with the European market expected

to grow four times faster than the US. It is claimed that by 2003, 72

million people will be online in the US, with Europe hot on its heels

with 52 million internet users.



BDDP France has taken the lead from its Los Angeles office. Predicting

that web companies will soon account for more than 20 per cent of its

gross income, the office has undertaken a number of e-commerce

initiatives, including a recent week-long training course for clients

and agency staff alike.



Baum says: ’The agencies in the US and France are leaders in the

interactive field. Yet the whole area is so hot that it is vital for us

to pre-empt our leadership position with something truly innovative.’



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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