NEW YORK: Ruder Finn’s New York tech practice was left stunned last week after being notified that it had lost the high-profile iWon.com account for which it had received such critical acclaim - by voicemail.
NEW YORK: Ruder Finn’s New York tech practice was left stunned last
week after being notified that it had lost the high-profile iWon.com
account for which it had received such critical acclaim - by
It was a double whammy for Ruder Finn as co-director and SVP Tony
Telloni left to take the top communications post with Reciprocal, a
Buffalo, NY-based digital rights management firm. He did not depart
because of the iWon loss, however.
Ruder Finn launched iWon to much fanfare last year - even scoring a
prized full segment on ABC’s Nightline - but the CBS-backed portal
decided to drop the agency after its six-month contract expired on
The account had been worth upwards of dollars 2 million, but the company
slashed its PR budget after launching. It is now rumored to be in the
iWon marketing director John Brod said he was pleased with Ruder Finn’s
work - on the shortlist for a PRWeek award - but decided to switch to an
agency with more of a consumer focus. ’We’re just looking for a change
of direction,’ he said, adding that the company is also on the hunt for
a PR director.
Ruder Finn MD Richard Funess, however, said iWon’s decision came as a
shock. ’We knew the budget would go down considerably, but we weren’t
expecting it to go away,’ he said. He added that the way the firm was
notified of iWon’s choice - via a phone message - bothered him most:
’They said no other agency was being brought in, and a week later we get
an e-mail from them with Shandwick’s name next to ours.’
Brod declined to discuss the switch, but said that since iWon did ask
Ruder Finn to submit a PR plan for the coming year, ’maybe they thought
(keeping the account) was a foregone conclusion.’ Ironically, Ruder Finn
- which holds equity in iWon - still has a stake in the site’s future
success, as it would profit from a successful IPO.
According to Shandwick/New York consumer group SVP Caryl Svendsen, the
firm will work for iWon on a project basis for the next two months.
’They want to be a total consumer brand,’ she said.
Ruder Finn SVP Robert Dowling will now head the firm’s technology group.