INTERNATIONAL: C&B steers AltaVista’s web portal challenge

SAN FRANCISCO: Internet search engine AltaVista has hired Copithorne and Bellows on a global communications account with fees in excess of pounds 600,000. The agency won a five-way pitch, which included Burson-Marsteller, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Applied Communications and Blanc and Otus.

SAN FRANCISCO: Internet search engine AltaVista has hired

Copithorne and Bellows on a global communications account with fees in

excess of pounds 600,000. The agency won a five-way pitch, which

included Burson-Marsteller, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Applied Communications

and Blanc and Otus.



Initially, B-M was been viewed as a possible favourite for the account,

since it had handled project work for AltaVista before the review. But

AltaVista communications director David Emanuel, who joined in July from

Ketchum, said C&B won the account with its ’dynamic creativity that was

right in tune’ with the company’s strategy.



The appointment of C&B closely follows the decision by AltaVista’s

parent company Compaq to sell a majority stake in the search engine to

internet investment firm CMGI for pounds 1.4 billion.



C&B also handles PR for CMGI company Engage, an internet advertising

profiling firm. Emanuel said that relationship had no bearing on the

decision.



The global campaign will focus on corporate positioning and consumer

branding, as AltaVista seeks to become a powerhouse web portal,

challenging industry leaders Yahoo! and America Online.



The account will be managed out of C&B’s main San Francisco office and

headed by partner Rhonda Shantz. The Alta Vista account team will draw

upon the firm’s offices in France, Singapore and the UK.



’Because of the worldwide nature of this program, the offices will be

working very closely together to ensure that the message is consistent,’

said Claire Moran, managing director of C&B UK.



C&B joins AltaVista just as it announces the launch of next-generation

internet services. AltaVista Network, which comprises AltaVista Search,

Shopping.com e-commerce platform and local community portals launch in

autumn. There are also strong rumours that Alta Vista will file for an

initial public offering by the end of this year.



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