Wieden & Kennedy bags $100m AOL Time Warner's corporate brand account

NEW YORK: Wieden & Kennedy has managed to pip Omnicom group siblings BBDO Worldwide and DDB Needham to the finishing line. AOL Time Warner's America Online selected Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., to handle its estimated $100 million corporate brand advertising account after a nearly five month review process. AOL is planning to reinvent itself as a hub for community, communication and content, rather than simply an Internet access provider.

An adage report says that Wieden & Kennedy, an independent shop known for its award-winning work on the Nike account, has been chosen as the job of refashioning AOL's image for the broadband age. Wieden also worked on Microsoft Corp.'s MSN in 1995.

However, BBDO, which currently handles advertising for AOL's broadband service and related entertainment products, won additional duties. According to the report, it will create advertising to launch AOL 9.0; along with premium services when the latest version of the service launches in October.

The company's executive VP-brand marketing Len Short, who led the review process, had recently informed Advertising Age that AOL spent $40 million on broadband advertising from January to May, and he puts broadband spending for the balance of the year in the $40 million to $60 million range.

Short has said AOL needs to show it plays a role in helping people navigate their lives through wireless alerts, interactive polls or real-time chat.

AOL has about 26 million customers in the United States and a $23.90-per-month subscription fee; a broadband add-on is $9.95 a month. AOL is expected to introduce new pricing and a score of new for-pay premium services by this fall.

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