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AOL hopes Wieden’s ad campaign clicks

Online lost more than 1 mil dial-up subs since late 2002

In a full-court press to stem subscriber losses and reinvigorate its broadband brand, America Online has tapped Portland, Ore.-based indie ad agency Wieden + Kennedy to handle its corporate brand advertising account.

Wieden + Kennedy is best known for its branding work for Nike, Miller Beer, ESPN and Coca-Cola. Agency helped kick-start Microsoft’s MSN online service in the mid-1990s.

AOL also said it was consolidating all of its product and service advertising, including the launch of AOL 9.0, with BBDO New York. BBDO was a runner-up for the branding gig.

The online unit of AOL Time Warner is struggling to get its ailing dial-up business under control while pulling out all the stops to enable its broadband offering to pick up the slack. But fixing AOL’s woes may take more than a snappy ad and image campaign.

Sub count sinking

AOL Time Warner chief financial officer Wayne Pace recently confirmed that the online division has lost more than 1 million dial-up subs since late 2002. The group is expected to spend some $80 million on marketing its AOL for Broadband service.

Separately, America Online has promoted Bill Wilson to head honcho for AOL Entertainment, filling the slot left by Kevin Conroy, who recently became exec VP and chief operating officer for AOL Broadband. As senior VP-general manager of AOL Entertainment, Wilson will be responsible for developing music, TV and other interactive entertainment features on the site. He will report to Jim Bankoff, exec veep of AOL Brand Operations.

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