Execs and Accounts for April 21, 2003

Ask Jeeves has awarded its creative/advertising and media buying business to TBWAChiatDay in San Francisco and OMD, respectively. The agencies will be responsible for all media strategy, creative development, media buying and creative execution. Total billings are undisclosed, but the assignment includes working with online and traditional media.

The partnership is the first win for the San Francisco office under newly appointed president Michael Allen and North America creative director Chuck McBride. TBWALondon also handles Ask Jeeves at Ask.co.uk in the UK.

Ask Jeeves has tasked the agency with shifting consumers’ perception of Ask Jeeves’ brand from the original platform — centered around asking questions — to a more common keywords-based search.

“TBWAChiatDay understands the opportunity we have to re-engage searchers with our service in a way that leverages the latent awareness of the Ask Jeeves brand while pushing it to stand for much more,” said Heather Staples, chief marketing officer for Ask Jeeves. “Their proven track record in shifting consumer perceptions, along with their creative expertise, will play an essential role in achieving this goal.”

Overture has completed the acquisition of the Web search unit of Fast Search & Transfer, a developer of enterprise search and filtering technologies. The acquisition, combined with Overture’s previously announced plan to purchase the business of Web search pioneer AltaVista, is intended to strengthen the company’s position in commercial search.

As part of the deal, Overture acquired AlltheWeb.com, FAST’s search technology showcase Web site, which the search player will use to test new approaches in search. The acquisition also will add to Overture’s international presence through FAST’s distribution relationships and its multi-language capabilities.

Overture advertisers should benefit through increased access to these new products and sources of distribution to drive targeted leads.

Affiliate marketing services provider Commission Junction has launched Account Manager 6.0, an enhanced version of its Web-based interface for pay-for-performance marketers. The new version includes a new relationship management component and a streamlined user experience. According to the company, advertisers can use the new features to recruit, manage and retain top-performing publishers, while communication and promotion opportunities for publishers in the network will be expanded.

“Advertisers can communicate more efficiently with publishers, extend specific offers, and make program adjustments quickly, while publishers can better manage existing partnerships and foster new ones,” said Elizabeth Cholawsky, SVP of marketing and product development.

Public relations firm PAN Communications has picked up several technology clients. The account wins include infoUSA, a provider of sales and marketing support products, email management firm IntelliReach, Novell exteNd, the Web app development group for Novell, Omnify Software, and IT infrastructure consultancy Opticom.

For more breaking news on account action and executive moves, visit ChannelSeven.com.

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