Wieden & Kennedy Expected to Get AltaVista Account

AltaVista was expected to award its planned $50 million-plus branding campaign to Wieden & Kennedy, according to published reports.

W&K would be the Internet search site’s first agency of record, handling AltaVista’s initial branding effort that will include TV, print, radio, outdoor and online advertising, according to Advertising Age. W&K is known for its “Just Do It” Nike campaign.

Spending for the campaign, which breaks in the U.S. in late fall and internationally shortly thereafter, ultimately could reach $100 million annually, AdAge said.

Wieden is opening an office in Palo Alto, Calif. specifically to handle the AltaVista account; Wieden staffers in Portland and Palo Alto will manage creative work, which President Dan Wieden will head. The agency’s New York office will handle media buying, while the Amsterdam, London and Tokyo offices will manage the campaign outside the U.S.

“We believe [Wieden] is really legendary at getting at the heart and soul of a brand,” Charles Rashall, AltaVista vice president of sales and marketing, was quoted as saying. DDB NeedhamWorldwide was the only other agency presenting in the final round, AdAge said.

Rashall was quoted as saying that CMGI, a Web holding company that’s buying 83 percent of AltaVista from Compaq Computer for $2.3 billion, supports the choice of W&K.

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