Geek Squad set to name CHI for UK and Europe launch

The technology troubleshooting service Geek Squad is poised to appoint Clemmow Hornby Inge and Hall Moore CHI to handle its £3 million UK and European launch.

The company, which is owned by the US electrical retailer Best Buy, has teamed up with the Carphone Warehouse in a 50:50 venture to launch the computer support service in the UK.

In the US, the independent service has 15,000 "agents" who dress like the FBI, wear "Geek Squad" badges styled on those worn by the police and drive Volkswagen Beetles. Services range from telephone advice on computer problems to home visits to install wireless networks and set up home cinema systems.

US advertising for the service, which was launched four years ago, is handled by Crispin Porter & Bogusky. However, sources close to the business say CHI's relationship with the Carphone Warehouse - it was the agency's founding client - means the account is in the bag.

CHI already has links with Best Buy, following a deal last month between the Carphone Warehouse and the retailer. Under the terms of the deal, the Carphone Warehouse will trade as an independent mobile phone retailer in the US, under the Best Buy brand.

The Geek Squad service faces competition, however. In September, DSG international, the company that owns Currys and PC World, annouced a £50 million investment in TheTechGuys, a team of 3,000 computer and home technology advice experts.

CHI's move to launch Geek Squad in the UK comes just a month after the Carphone Warehouse inked a £370 million deal with Time Warner to purchase the media giant's AOL UK internet access service. CHI is hotly tipped to win the lion's share of the AOL marketing budget, worth £25 million according to Nielsen Media Research figures.

CHI was unavailable for comment and Carphone Warehouse did not return calls.

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