NEW YORK: Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE) has tapped Hill & Knowlton as its AOR, choosing the shop over a crowded field that included Ogilvy's New York office and the company's incumbent firm, Dallas-based Hadeler White PR.
MBE has charged H&K with brand-building and PR activities in connection with the company's new technology and e-commerce initiatives, as well as a proposed international expansion.
'We were impressed by H&K's retail and international know-how as well as its understanding of e-commerce,' said James Amos, MBE president and CEO, in a statement. The account will be based out of the firm's Los Angeles office, and will be overseen by senior managing director Bonnie Goodman and senior account supervisor Ryan Peal.
MBE senior manager of PR Karen Gajewski said the company's move into the e-commerce space was a natural fit. 'More commerce is being done via the Internet and everything needs to get shipped,' she said. 'As the virtual world meets the physical world, there needs to be a bridge there.'
Indeed, this market could well prove a rich one for MBE, as nearly 10 million American consumers are shopping online, and an estimated dollars 1.5 trillion in e-commerce transactions are expected to occur by 2003.
In order to jump right into the online shipping area, MBE has formed an alliance with eBay to offer shipping options for the auction site's customers. The company has also established an alliance with online shipping company iShip.com, as MBE invested heavily in the company (along with UPS Strategic Fund and venture capital firm Draper, Fisher Jurvetson) earlier this year.
MBE is also expanding its franchise business across Europe, Asia and Latin America. The company has 700 stores in 29 countries worldwide.