Yahoo! calls pitch for £70m global advertising task

LONDON - The online brand Yahoo! is reviewing its estimated £70m global advertising account.

The company is enlisting the WPP networks Young & Rubicam and Ogilvy & Mather to battle for the business, alongside Euro RSCG Worldwide in New York. Euro's pitch is expected to be run by Black Rocket Euro RSCG, which handles Yahoo!'s US account.

Yahoo!'s relationship with Black Rocket was the basis of its decision to make Euro RSCG Worldwide its agency of record for global projects in May last year.

In the UK the account is held by HHCL/Red Cell, although its most recent campaign was developed by the Euro network. Yahoo! says both agencies are used on a project basis.

The review will not affect Yahoo!'s media agencies. Its £10m pan-European planning and buying account was consolidated into OMD Europe in January, with Manning Gottlieb OMD taking the £2m UK account.

The creative review has been instigated by Yahoo!'s chief executive, Terry Semel. Semel was appointed in summer 2001 after his predecessor, Tim Koogle, stepped down to become the the vice-chairman.

Semel joined Yahoo! after a 24-year career with the entertainment group Warner Bros. During his time there, Semel was credited with boosting revenues from less than $1bn to almost $11bn.

Yahoo! has also hired the Frito-Lay marketer Cammie Dunaway to its chief marketing position. She takes up the position later this month, replacing the chief global marketing officer, John Costello, who left at the end of last year.

In addition to the global review, it emerged last week that Yahoo! UK & Ireland is currently widening its creative roster. The company is looking for an agency to promote the benefits of interactive advertising to businesses and has held talks with agencies in preparation for a formal pitch. A decision is expected by the beginning of July.

The company's main rival, AOL, is currently reviewing its £20m UK creative account. Mortimer Whittaker O'Sullivan, the agency that has held the business for the past five years, will repitch. AOL appointed BBDO New York to its US broadband advertising account in March.

However, AOL has given assurances that even if the incumbent agency fails to hang on to the account, it will not ditch Connie - its partially computer-generated brand spokeswoman.

Black Rocket Euro RSCG denied that there was a global Yahoo! review. Yahoo! said the agency "remains Yahoo!'s agency of record in the US and Euro RSCG Worldwide the agency for global projects".

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