- M&C Saatchi has been assigned the task of orchestrating the challenge of Bertelsmann, the German media giant, to Amazon's domination of the global market in online book sales.
Not only will the agency establish BOL.com's UK presence with a TV-led campaign breaking later this year--backed by a reported £6 million budget--but will provide the advertising back-up as the company expands into new international markets.
M&C Saatchi successfully contested the UK assignment against Bartle Bogle Hegarty, BMP and Mustoe Merriman Herring Levy and was given the global task after being invited as a late entrant to the pitch for BOL.com's German account.
Walker Media, an M&C Saatchi associate company, will handle BOL's UK media planning and buying while the agency's fledgling direct marketing start-up, M&C Saatchi Direct, will run all direct marketing activity.
The appointments are in line with BOL's declared aim of achieving market leadership in online book sales and are a precursor of its imminent move to add CDs to its offering.
It also signals intensified competition in the market with Amazon currently carrying out a review of its £1 million UK account as part of a search for fresh creative ideas.
Alexander Broich, BOL's UK managing director, said the agency appointments signified a readiness by the company to move "to the next level as one of the major players in the UK and global online marketplace".
Nick Hurrell, M&C Saatchi's joint chief executive, said the advertising would aim to differentiate BOL.com from Amazon by giving the brand a distinct personality rather then being thought of as just a distribution system.
"People know about Amazon only from the financial pages," he added. "BOL will be a brand that people can have a relationship with."
BOL.com, which launched into the UK five months ago, also runs online bookstores in Germany, France and Holland and plans to move into Spain and Switzerland later this year.