WASHINGTON, DC: Online college bookstore VarsityBooks.com has tapped Cunningham Communications for its PR account.
Launched in August of last year, VarsityBooks.com had worked with Edelman hi-tech subsidiary PR21, but the two parted ways in April. Communications director Jodi Gershoni then sent out an RFP to six firms, and narrowed the search to three finalists. Cunningham beat out a top-10 firm for the account, but Gershoni would not disclose the other finalist.
The account will be based in Cunningham's Cambridge, MA, office and headed by SVP/MD Kristin Hilf. VP Pam Erickson will oversee the four-person team, which is currently scrambling to pitch to 500 college and community newspapers.
'It's a great win in terms of extending our Internet and dot-com experience,' Hilf said.
With established competitors like BigWords.com, Textbooks.com (owned by Barnes & Noble) and efollet.com in the same space, VarsityBooks.com has its PR work cut out for it. 'It's a tight competitive landscape, and a challenge to get through the fray,' Gershoni admitted.
Hilf added that VarsityBooks.com will soon be moving beyond just textbooks, but would not disclose details.