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
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
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
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.