Russ selects 5W to lead PR-dominated marketing strategy

NEW YORK: 5W Public Relations has been selected as AOR for toy company Russ Berrie.

NEW YORK: 5W Public Relations has been selected as AOR for toy company Russ Berrie.

Richard Burdi, VP corporate communications, said the agency was recommended by one of Russ Berrie's board members. He said the agency was selected because it's "young, aggressive, and talented."

The agency started working on the account in early February. Katy Sager, VP and group director of consumer affairs, will lead a five-person team. 5W will provide strategic communications, media relations, product placement, and event planning for the company and its philanthropic efforts.

The company has been without a PR agency for a year and an advertising agency for two. Winning Strategies previously held the PR account, and Burdi said the relationship ended amicably.

"We're not going to pick up an ad campaign," Burdi said. "Most of the monies are going into a PR effort."

5W is on a six-month retainer, with undisclosed billings. The company will re-evaluate the relationship after that time, but Burdi said, "We're not looking for a short-term partner."

Russ Berrie manufactures stuffed animals and baby gifts, as well as a line of picture frames, candles, and home fragrance products. But the company has shifted its focus to work more on licensed partnerships, and will be unveiling a line of products around DreamWorks' upcoming Animation firm, Madagascar.

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