SEATTLE: Edelman has been selected by the Washington Wine Commission (WWC), a nonprofit organization that promotes Washington state wines to wine and non-wine media, trade, and consumers, to create a national integrated branding campaign to promote the state's wine.
The commission went through two flights of agency presentations after submitting an RFP. The four finalists for the account were Foot Cone & Belding, Horton Lantz & Low, Big Bang Idea Engineering, and Edelman, according to Ted Baseler, chairman of WWC and president and CEO of winery Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.
Baseler did not disclose the amount of the account. He said Edelman covered every base, including submitting ideas for merchandising and promoting the theme, Washington State: the perfect climate for wine.
Edelman EVP and deputy GM Melanie Wilhoite will lead the Edelman team, receiving assistance from account supervisor Regan Sheehy.
"We will be building a PR program that can be moved forward very quickly," said WWC's new executive director Jane Baxter Lynn said. "The WWC have been working very methodically on this program, and Edelman has a reputation for being very client-orientated and producing good work for their fees."
The campaign will feature advertising, events marketing and PR to educate consumers about Washington's winemaking abilities.
"It's a very comprehensive, integrated approach with events, advertising, and contests," Baseler said.
While stating that Edelman's reach wasn't the primary criterion, he said, "It's an opportunity to have an agency with local offices around the country and around the world."
The biggest communications challenge is budgetary and the WWC is looking at ways to generate funding, Baseler said.
Washington is the nation's second-largest producer of premium wines, and Baseler estimated the winemaking industry's direct and tangible contributions to the Washington state economy were $2.4 billion. Washington wine production has more than doubled in the past 10 years and the industry currently employs more than 11,000 people statewide.