SAN FRANCISCO: American Greetings has found a friend in PR.
Following a competitive review that also included Niehaus Ryan Wong and Ketchum, the company named Alexander Ogilvy as AOR for Americangreetings.com, which will soon go public.
Financial terms were not revealed, but Alexander Ogilvy EVP Holland Carney said the budget qualifies Americangreetings.com as 'a top-10 client' for her agency. It's also the largest e-commerce client to date for the firm, which has recently worked with other companies in the sector (eToys, Cooking.com, Della & James, and CheckOut.com).
Carney added that big sibling Ogilvy will contribute significantly to the account.
According to Bill Van Cleave, VP of product management and corporate marketing for Americangreetings. com, it was the combination of Alexander Ogilvy's Internet expertise and Ogilvy's reputation for general consumer product branding that sealed the deal.
'Given that we're aiming to reach both mainstream consumer and technology audiences, Alexander Ogilvy and Ogilvy PR were the clear choice for us,' he said.
The new account will be jointly handled by a team of Alexander Ogilvy and Ogilvy PR staffers in San Francisco, with assistance from Ogilvy's Chicago office. Current plans call for the agencies to focus on IR in anticipation of Americangreetings.com's IPO later this year.
After the pre-IPO 'quiet period' ends, the campaign will become a broad-based PR program.
According to Carney, the goal will be to give the company 'a voice in the Internet industry,' speaking to investors and the analyst community while simultaneously driving consumer traffic to the web site. 'We want to leverage the brand equity of American Greetings, and tell the story about its great content and other programs on the site,' she said.
The Ogilvy firms could have a big challenge ahead of them. While the Cleveland-based company is the world's largest publicly held creator and distributor of greeting cards, its online division has yet to make a big splash. The site, which has been around since 1995, competes with egreetings.com and the wildly popular Blue Mountain Arts.