BBDO Wins Big Piece of AOL; Will Compete with Wieden for More

BOSTON BBDO has won America Online’s broadband account and will break the work they pitched in the review during the Oscar telecast in April, the client confirmed.

Wieden + Kennedy and BBDO will now face off for AOL’s overall brand account, the client said. Final presentations for that piece of the business will take place next month.

“BBDO hit the ball out of the park,” said Len Short, the former Charles Schwab executive who arrived at AOL as evp, brand marketing early this year. “The conference room was rocking.” As for Wieden, he said, “They impressed us at every step. They’re a remarkably powerful agency.”

Omnicom shops BBDO and DDB, both in New York; Publicis Group’s Saatchi & Saatchi, New York; Maxxcom’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami; Interpublic Group’s Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston and New York; and independent Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore all competed in the review.

IPG’s Gotham, New York, which held the business for six years, was dismissed in January. Pile and Co., Boston, oversaw the review process.

Sources estimate media spending for all AOL’s business at $150 million. The client declined comment on spending numbers.

The Dulles, Va., client, which ranks as the No.1 ISP, wants to rebrand itself as an entertainment and content provider through campaigns supporting the upcoming relaunch of its AOL Broadband product. AOL has been the poorest performing division of AOL Time Warner, with ad revenue dropping 40 percent last year to $1.6 billion.

After coming to AOL two months ago, Short quickly hired BBDO, a shop he’d worked at Schwab, for assignments surrounding high-profile events like the Super Bowl. He also tapped CP+B to work on AOL Moviefone. CP+B retains that business, Short said, and its assignment will be expanded to include “all cinema projects for AOL.”