America Online will stick with Initiative, its current agency of record, to handle the media portion of its advertising, reported to be worth around $300 million.
The account review took about three months and was finally narrowed to two finalists, Aegis Group’s Carat in New York and incumbent Initiative, the Interpublic Group unit with offices in New York and Los Angeles. Former finalist Starcom MediaVest dropped out last week because of a potential conflict with its existing client Disney.
AOL said it will work with Initiative on a new, broader set of objectives to support the online service’s expanded multi-product, multi-band focus. The company has been attempting to grow its broadband and premium services in the face of sagging narrowband popularity.
An AOL spokeswoman was quick to point out that the large majority of AOL’s 25 million members still uses narrowband and this area will also be supported by Initiative.
The agency will handle all media strategy, planning and buying for all AOL brands with a greater emphasis on program integration and targeting on local and national levels, AOL said Tuesday.
AOL’s interactive advertising agencies of record are Digitas and Atmosphere. Weiden + Kennedy and BBDO handle offline advertising.