AOL in agency talks for Euro corporate account

AOL Europe has held discussions with two UK-based PR shops as it mulls the hire of an agency for a pan-­European corporate account.

The agencies met with VP comms and branding AOL Europe Dorothée Burkel, and are expected to attend another meeting to discuss a more detailed brief.

Separately, AOL UK is believed to be considering hiring an agency for consumer work. Head of PR Cass Stainton confirmed this, but stressed that no decision could be taken until a PR budget had been decided.

Stainton stressed that should a consumer agency be appointed it would either be one that had ‘been in discussion with us already' or was ‘known by the in-house team'.

Carphone Warehouse ­acquired AOL UK's subscription internet access business last autumn, when AOL Europe sold its French and German internet access business to native telecoms operators.

The deal has left AOL UK and AOL Europe operating solely as ‘portal' businesses, offering users news, horoscopes, email, competitions and games in a similar way to Yahoo.

The Carphone Warehouse sale triggered a spate of redundancies in AOL UK's comms team, including that of director of communications Jonathan Lambeth (PRWeek, 22 February) and AOL UK chief marketing officer Tobin Ireland.

Historically, AOL has worked with several agencies, including Mantra PR, Shine Communications, Freud Communications and Blue Rubicon. The latter two agencies have not been retained for the UK since 2004 and 2005 respectively.

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