Yahoo Adds Goodby, Aims for More Focused Brand Campaign

Yahoo’s worldwide branding campaign is a work in progress, if the news of the firm adding a new agency to its roster is any indication. The company will now rely on Goodby, Silverstein and Partners to handle strategic planning, advertising, digital marketing, and campaign tracking in North America. Goodby joins the already-assembled team of Ogilvy, Yahoo’s agency of record, and strategic branding firm Landor and Associates.

Yahoo has also formed a brand advisory board it expects to meet on a quarterly basis to help drive the campaign as it evolves.

“We’re a much different client than we were six months ago,” Yahoo SVP Integrated Marketing and Brand Management Penny Baldwin told ClickZ News. The company, she continued, is trying “to make sure that our agency partners all have clear areas of focus because it’s a big job for any one agency to address.”

While Ogilvy led creative for the worldwide $100 million multimedia campaign leading up to its U.S. launch in September, Baldwin said Goodby will now head up the U.S. campaign, and assist in the creative process when it comes to other markets across the globe. Those international campaigns — eight of which have yet to launch — will be led by Ogilvy. Ogilvy will also continue in its media planning and buying role for the entire campaign.

Yahoo’s executive leadership, internal structure, and business focus has fluctuated in recent years, giving the firm a reputation for indecision, and causing observers to question its stability. The agency addition will most likely add to the concern that Yahoo executives are second-guessing their decisions.

Baldwin suggested the decision to include Goodby was part of a natural progression, in line with long-term campaign planning. She also stressed that she has been with Yahoo for only four months, and Yahoo EVP and CMO Elisa Steele for six months.

It has been implied by Yahoo execs that the U.S. campaign start was rushed. At a launch event staged during Advertising Week in New York last month, Steele said, “We decided that [because of] Ad Week, we should just hurry up and get it done because it’s the place for us to really collaborate with advertisers to tell our story.”

“The first order of business was to really get a grasp on the worldwide marketplace situation,” explained Baldwin. “Once we were able to grasp that, only then were we able to make decisions” about the right strategy.

Another new twist in its brand story, Yahoo said it has formed a brand advisory board consisting of top execs from the three agencies. “We want to harness the power and the brains of each one of those organizations,” said Baldwin. Ideally, she added, the first board meeting will be held in “about a month’s time.”

Yahoo plans to announce its third quarter earnings later today.

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