BBDO and Wieden & Kennedy Billings May Reach $200 Million

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NEW YORK ( -- Confirming it has awarded its corporate brand advertising assignment to Wieden & Kennedy, American Online yesterday also detailed how it is
June 6 Story:
Beat Out BBDO and DDB in Five-Month Review

expanding its relationship with Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide of New York.

Exact amount unknown
The account decision by the interactive unit of AOL Time Warner was first reported June 6 by At that time, AOL representatives would not comment, and they still decline to discuss the billings for the Wieden work, which was earlier estimated at about $100 million. Wieden did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Yesterday, the troubled online giant also said BBDO will handle all products and services advertising, including the upcoming launch of AOL 9.0. Available information from executives familiar with the situation suggests these tasks alone could be worth another $100 million. Neither AOL nor BBDO would comment on the billings for the work.

BBDO Super Bowl work
In January, BBDO was selected to handle AOL's Super Bowl advertising for the company's broadband service. By March, the agency's role had been expanded to include all AOL broadband-related advertising.

One executive close to the matter suggested that AOL is looking to Wieden for the "big idea" that will help burnish the company's frayed image. It is not clear if BBDO will be used to help implement the campaigns for that new message. Agencies often collaborate on campaigns, with one developing a blockbuster idea and the other translating that concept into the actual advertising campaigns.

'Overwhelming consensus'
AOL executives reached an "overwhelming consensus" in favor of Wieden's presentation, according to a person familiar with the outcome. Wieden is known for its award-winning campaigns for Nike and for conceptually driven, image-altering advertising. The brand campaign, no matter which agency executes it, is to break sometime after the mid-October launch of AOL 9.0.

The current tagline for AOL's broadband ads, "Welcome to the Worldwide Wow," is likely to fade away, according to a person familiar with the campaign. BBDO is assigned to come up with a new one by mid-summer when a new round of advertising for broadband gets under way.