Excite, the US internet search engine, is seeking a European agency
to handle its pounds 40 million advertising account as it gears up to
expand across the Continent.
The company has seen presentations from two London-based agencies and a
decision is imminent. The successful agency will create a branding
campaign that is intended to spearhead the company’s European expansion
Part of the agency’s brief will be to position the site as a consumer
brand which operates beyond the confines of the worldwide web, targeting
a web audience that is now more sophisticated and ready to accept web
companies as rounded consumer brands.
Excite’s European advertising has until now been confined to the UK with
the incumbent agency Henry Cole being used to adapt US campaigns for the
The US account is split between Branded Limited and Lowe Lintas &
Partners. This relationship is unaffected.
’Excite wants to have its own European agency rather than one that is
just adapting the US work,’ a company spokeswoman said, ’but Henry Cole
did some great work last year and we intend to continue working with
The last advertising campaign for Excite to run in the UK positioned the
site as an ’easy to use service for non-techies’. The new agency will be
expected to continue to position the site as funky but technical, one
that is both easy to use and relevant to consumers’ lives.
The TV ads featured a series of embarrassing situations real people find
themselves in, such as a man on a bus who discovers yesterday’s
underpants down the leg of his trousers and an executive who
inadvertently covers his face with ink from a leaky pen.
The ads were designed to suggest that ordinary people who make mistakes
can improve their lives by using Excite.
The site was launched by six Stanford University graduates as Architext
Software in 1994. The company changed its name to Excite and launched
its search engine service on the web in 1996. Last year BT acquired a 50
per cent stake in Excite UK.
Excite aims to float its European operation on the London or Frankfurt
stock exchanges before the end of the year.