- Excite, the US internet search engine, is seeking a European agency to handle its £40 million advertising account as it gears up to expand across the continent.
The company is compiling a list of London agencies to pitch with a decision expected by summer. The successful agency will create a branding campaign which is intended to spearhead the company's European expansion plans.
Excite's European advertising has, until now, been confined to the UK and incumbent agency Henry Cole has been used to adapt US campaigns for the European market.
The US account is split between Branded Limited and Lowe Lintas & Partners. This relationship is unaffected.
"Excite want to have their own European agency, rather than one that is just adapting the US work," said a company spokeswoman "but Henry Cole did some great work last year and we intend to continue working with them."
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 current 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 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 to 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.
Walker Media, which handles the site's media planning and buying account, is not thought to be included in the review.