Excite Selects OWN&P

Internet media company Excite has selected Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners here to handle its 1998 branding campaign.
The Redwood City, Calif.-based client moved the assignment from the incumbent agency, Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, without a formal review.
“We are thrilled to be associated with an entrepreneurial culture that so closely matches ours,” said Wayne Buder, president of OWN&P. “This [is an] opportunity to help cement Excite’s position as one of the leading Internet brands.”
Buder worked on Excite’s account at FCB before leaving the agency a few weeks ago to become a partner at OWN&P.
“OWN&P has a reputation for being a scrappy, good, creative shop,” said Scott Epstein, representative for Excite. “We like that, and that’s why we decided to talk to them. However, I want it to be clear that we are not disappointed with FCB. They really knocked themselves out. . . and they were right with us.”
FCB developed the acclaimed “Are you experienced?” TV branding campaign that was used by Excite in early 1997. The flashy, in-your-face ads featured music by Jimi Hendrix and a 1960s psychedelic look with a futuristic edge. Agency executives could not be reached for comment about the account move.
Billings for 1997 are estimated at $7-10 million, which includes interactive advertising. Interactive duties were recently transferred to FCB’s sister company, Modem Media in Westport, Conn., which opened an office in San Francisco to handle the account. It will remain the agency of record for Excite’s interactive needs, according to Epstein.
Excite’s projected spending for advertising in 1998 “has not yet been finalized,” Epstein said. But sources estimate OWN&P’s assignment to be worth at least $3-5 million. The Internet search directory category leader, Yahoo!, earmarked $5-10 million for media spending this year.