Software giant Microsoft has tapped London’s Bartle Bogle Hegarty to be lead agency in Europe for Xbox, its much-hyped next-generation games console due to launch across the continent early in 2002.

Although expected billings were not disclosed, they are likely to be very substantial indeed – in North America alone, the marketing budget (handled by McCann-Erickson Worldwide) is estimated at $500 million.

The appointment has been on the cards for several months. In December, BBH resigned its $84m account for Sega’s rival Dreamcast console amid rumours that it had been selected for the Xbox duties [WAMN: 07-Dec-01].

BBH will oversee a group of affiliate agencies across Europe, all thought to have pitched for the account in an earlier round: Milan’s Verbal DDB, McCann-Erickson in Frankfurt, Parisian shop Louis XIV and Barcelona’s Tandem DDB.

Commented Xbox’s European advertising manager Harvey Eagle: “This bespoke network gives us a strong, centralised lead agency, together with equally strong local agencies that are able to add value to the brand at a country level.”

News source: Advertising Age - International Daily