i-level, the new-media planning and buying specialist launched on
Tuesday, has secured Yell, the Yellow Pages web service, as one of its
The agency - which claims to be the largest of its kind in the UK with a
10 per cent market share - also counts Easyjet among its four direct
clients, and has signed deals with two traditional media agencies to
plan and buy on the internet on their clients’ behalf.
i-level is run by Charlie Dobres, the former head of Lowe Digital and
general secretary of the Internet Advertising Bureau; Andrew Walmsley,
who has quit as head of digital media at Bartle Bogle Hegarty; and Craig
Wilkie, one of the co-founders of the Guardian New Media Lab. It claims
a total of pounds 4 million of billings at launch.
The partners would not confirm that Yell was on board, but sources close
to the company indicated that a deal had been signed with the BT-owned
Dobres claimed: ’There hasn’t been a media independent launched with
this market share since Zenith.’
i-level aims to use its volume to buy more cleverly, as well as more
efficiently, than its competitors, according to Walmsley. ’Our volume
will mean we are active in the marketplace all the time, giving us a
broad level of experience and knowledge that cannot be matched by
The shop will work with traditional agencies to deliver a similar
service to that of poster buying specialists - operating on behalf of
big media operations in a complex and low-margin area.
Dobres, who has resigned from his post at the IAB, takes the chief
executive’s post at i-level, while Walmsley becomes chairman. Wilkie, as
creative director, will supervise teams made up of planner/buyers and
’fixers’ - who aim to optimise performance during a campaign. The pairs
will also thrash out strategic ideas, working in the same way as
creative teams do in ad agencies.
By early May, the company will have eight staff.