Yell.com appoints AKQA to take brand's ads back online

LONDON - Yell.com, the online version of Yellow Pages, has hired AKQA to develop an online creative strategy for the brand.

Sources close to the business expect AKQA to be developing online advertising for the brand on a retained basis. However, a spokesman for Yell.com stressed that the appointment was on a three-month trial basis.

The brand has not advertised online for 18 months. Its above-the-line advertising is through Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which handles the centralised Yellow Pages, Talking Pages and Yell.com business.

AMV's £3m campaign, featuring people with thought bubbles revealing what kind of service they needed to locate, promoted Yellow Pages and Yell.com simultaneously.

AKQA's appointment followed a competitive pitch. The agency was not involved at the early stages of the pitch, but Yell.com apparently then decided to include the agency because of its proven ability in handling large accounts, such as Nike and Microsoft.

Yell.com overhauled its website last November in a bid to reduce the time it took to locate a business. The site receives 38m page impressions a month, but has yet to turn a profit.

The appointment comes as the directory enquiries sector opens up to new competition. InfoNXX and Conduit are launching this year, following deregulation of the market.

Yell.com's competitors include 192.com, Scoot.co.uk and Thomsonlocal.com.

Yell.com's online media planning and buying is handled by i-level.

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