The appointments follow the sale of the UK internet access arm of the Time Warner-owned internet service provider to the Carphone Warehouse last November for £370 million. CHI was widely tipped to win the business after the deal, which saw AOL split its UK business between broadband provision and the aol.com content portal.
AOL has yet to reach a decision on an agency for the portal part of its business, which Time Warner still owns. Grey London and Joshua previously handled the above-the-line and DM advertising for both parts of the account.
The Carphone Warehouse is the UK's third-biggest broadband service provider following the AOL sale, and is likely to ditch its "discuss" campaign following the hiring of CHI. Grey's advertising for the ISP asked provocative questions such as: "Is the internet a good or a bad thing?"
Under the terms of the £370 million deal, the Carphone Warehouse is permitted to use the AOL name for the next two years. CHI's advertising is likely to position the ISP as a premium, paid-for service to distinguish it from the Carphone Warehouse's free Talk Talk broadband offering. However, insiders predict the long-term strategy will be to bring both brands together under the Talk Talk brand.