As with the initial burst of Eastern European expansion, this latest wave is being driven by client demands, explained Frank Haarhues, a European service manager for Initiative Media, Lintas' media arm in the Netherlands. 'We go where our clients, such as Unilever, are going,' he said. Also on the wagon train to the new land of opportunity in Rumania and Bulgaria are Rank Xerox, Procter & Gamble, Colgate, Pepsi and Philips Electronics. Supporting these brands are many familiar Western multinationals, such as Saatchi & Saatchi, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and BBDO, which have hooked up with local shops to form local ventures.
Haarhues noted that in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, TV is still by far the most popular medium, as it was when these countries were just starting to open to Western advertising. Furthermore, costs are still relatively low in absolute terms. On Rumania's two state-owned television networks, TVR1 and TVR2, which between them cover almost all of the country's 23 million population, 30-second spots average $1,000. However, he noted that spots for ads within specific ad breaks could shoot to as high as $2,560 a piece.
In Bulgaria, a country of about 9 million citizens, spots cost almost as much they do in Rumania, about $720 on either of the two state networks, K1 and E2. According to Haarhues, Bulgaria had been raising rates frequently, 'albeit in small increments.'
Media buyers also face the problem of getting confirmation that their spots run as scheduled. Haarhues explained that monitoring services have yet to appear in these countries. Mediametrie International, a French media research company, has expanded its monitoring to some of Bulgaria's cities, but Western-style research is a long way off. (ADWEEK, Aug. 2).
Daniel Tilles writes about advertising from Paris.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)