Virgin retools electronics firm, hires A&R

SAN JOSE, CA: Virgin is relaunching its nascent consumer electronics company with a more straightforward name, an eye on digital music, and a PR agency of record.

SAN JOSE, CA: Virgin is relaunching its nascent consumer electronics company with a more straightforward name, an eye on digital music, and a PR agency of record.

Launched in October 2003 as Virgin Pulse, the company is now changing its name to Virgin Electronics. Joe Sipher, SVP of marketing at the electronics company, admitted that with a name like Virgin Pulse, it wasn't clear what the company did.

Also gone are products like alarm clocks, with a new deep focus on digital media, particularly music.

"The digital music space is crowded in one sense," said Sipher, "but in another, no one has really been successful other than Apple. Right now it's Apple and everyone else. Most markets have three dominant players. We have an opportunity to be a strong player."

To help relaunch the company and make it a player, Virgin Electronics has tapped A&R Partners as its agency of record.

Communications will focus on leveraging the Virgin brand that consumers know from the parent company's music stores and airline, as well as focus heavily on product PR.

Sipher said he tapped A&R because of the fantastic job the agency has done with palmOne. He met the agency 11 years ago when he was the first product manager at the hand-held technology company.

"A&R is a very strong product PR firm," added Sipher. "They do a great job of getting visibility for the products, getting them into the hands of reviewers, and getting great reviews."

The Virgin brand will go a long way in helping relaunch the company, said Bob Angus, agency president and managing partner.

"The brand is known for music and its progressive attitude," said Angus. "These guys have a knack for coming up with the right products and bringing new functionality that people really crave. They have a great sense of design."

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