Grey Worldwide Wins $45 Mil. Online Account

Ask Jeeves, a Web site that helps Internet users receive answers to questions, named Grey Worldwide here its agency of record last week.

Sources estimated billings at $45 million.

Grey, San Francisco, which handles ads for computer and Internet companies like Oracle and Telseon, will design a domestic campaign for the site, best known for recent ads featuring the famous valet. Agency officials said new work will appear early next year.

The decision follows a review of two unnamed shops.

Prior to tapping Grey, the account had been handled by Euro RSCG DSW Partners, which won the business about 18 months ago.

Officials at the site said they were pleased with DSW’s work, but explained the switch is designed to accommodate Jeeves’ B2B strategy.

“Grey showed a strong strategic understanding of our brand,” said Adam Klein, president of Ask Jeeves. “They also have experience with technology clients.”

DSW partner Alan Reighard said he was proud of the work his agency did and was disappointed with the decision. “We helped them become one of the most visited sites on the Net,” he said.

He added that Klein had close contacts at Grey and made the switch within two months of joining the company. “The day he arrived he ordered the review,” he said.

Klein, who employed Grey when he ran the Hasbro Corp., said his previous relationship was not a key factor in the decision. “They had to earn this account and prove they were worthy.”

“Ask Jeeves is a category killer in the consumer and business space,” said Kieran Hannon, evp for Grey Worldwide’s San Francisco office. “We’re happy to be partnered with an industry leader.”

Separately, sources said Grey will add the $15 million media account for 24 Hour Fitness to its existing creative duties. The shop will handle direct marketing and media buying. Grey beat J. Walter Thompson and Carat in that review.