Britannica picks Lowe for UK website launch

Encyclopaedia Britannica has handed the pounds 1.5 million launch account for its UK website to Lowe Howard-Spink as it prepares to make online activity its core business.

Encyclopaedia Britannica has handed the pounds 1.5 million launch

account for its UK website to Lowe Howard-Spink as it prepares to make

online activity its core business.



The agency competed against Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam and M&C

Saatchi to secure the task. A TV and press campaign is expected to break

next February, when a UK-only version of the site will launch.



The site will be available free of charge and will include a news

service, a full internet version of the original text and shortcuts to

200,000 websites which the Britannica editors have chosen. It is also

offering free internet access to consumers.



The account has no direct marketing incumbent, although Direct Marketing

Services has been handling the company’s CD-Rom upgrade activity, and

was recently awarded the brief to co-ordinate retail support.



Paul Hammersley, managing director of Lowes, said: ’It’s exciting to be

involved in the transition of such a respected brand into one of the

world’s most respected online businesses. We’ve developed some superb

insights into marketing online brands, which we will be using to develop

the campaign.’



Britannica, a privately owned company, is already marketing its internet

offer in the US, where Deutsch is developing its advertising.



The company still manufactures the printed version of its encyclopaedia,

but the internet and the CD-Rom versions are taking over. In paper form

it costs about pounds 1,000 and takes up more than a metre of shelf

space, while two CDs or one DVD take up less space and cost pounds

90.



Marcus Missen, Britannica’s head of advertising, said: ’The internet

will be playing an increasingly important role for us, but we will

continue to print the books because there is still a market for books to

satisfy.’



The appointment comes as Britannica faces up to competition from

Microsoft’s Encarta, which offers a similar web service. Britannica is

said to have turned down an offer from Bill Gates five years ago to team

up with Microsoft and put the encyclopaedia on a CD-Rom.



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