C&B beats big guns in AltaVista battle

PALO ALTO: Copithorne & Bellows has emerged victorious in a five-way race for the $1 million PR account at web portal AltaVista.

PALO ALTO: Copithorne & Bellows has emerged victorious in a five-way race for the $1 million PR account at web portal AltaVista.

Suitors for the global business included Burson-Marsteller, Alexander Ogilvy, Applied Communications and Blanc & Otus. C&B was chosen over fellow finalists Burson and Applied.

Burson had been viewed as a possible frontrunner, as it had handled project work for AltaVista before the review. But communications director David Emanuel, who joined AltaVista in July from Ketchum, said C&B won the account with 'dynamic creative that was right in tune' with the company's strategy.

The agency review began just weeks after Compaq announced plans to sell a majority stake in AltaVista to Internet investment firm CMGI for $2.3 billion, a deal that closed two weeks ago (PRWeek, July 12). While C&B handles PR for CMGI unit Engage, an Internet ad 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. Based in San Francisco and headed by partner Rhonda Shantz, the C&B account team will draw upon the firm's offices in France, Singapore and the UK.

'It will be worldwide from the get-go,' Emanuel said.

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