AOL Names Agencies for Portal Launch

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Time Warner Inc.'s America Online asked Carat Interactive, Atmosphere BBDO, The Martin Agency and Hill Holliday for advertising to support the debut of its AOL.com portal that will compete directly with Yahoo and MSN.


The portal will make freely available AOL programming that previously was open only to paying AOL subscribers. Included in that are free e-mail, and new video and video search capabilities. The portal is expected to debut later this month.


AOL's naming of the three agencies is aimed to generate new users to programming available on the portal.


The campaign, based on relevance and immediacy, also is expected to attract existing users to visit other AOL sites like MapQuest, Moviefone and Netscape as well as boost the AIM instant messenger service.


Carat is handling search engine optimization for organic listings and search engine marketing for paid links on search pages. Atmosphere BBDO is developing online ads as it has done for AOL since 2002. OMD is in charge of media buying and planning.


The online campaign kicks off next month. Martin handles the offline ads starting this fall, including newspaper, magazine, outdoor, television and radio media The agency last year began working with AOL. Initiative buys the offline media.


Hill Holliday is the trade agency, working with a number of efforts for the portal. BBDO New York continues to remain the AOL subscription service.


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