WASHINGTON: Euro RSCG Magnet beat out Ogilvy PR and Fleishman-Hillard to become the first-ever AOR for Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI), The Washington Post Co.'s online media group that includes The Washington Post, Newsweek, and Slate Web sites.
Goals of the outreach - which marks the first time the group has hired outside PR - include establishing Washingtonpost.com as a national and even international brand, not simply the Web site of a local newspaper, noted New York-based Magnet SVP Steve Hoechster. He added that the already intense interest in the 2008 presidential race presents a great opportunity for WPNI to expand its national profile.
Tactics behind the push will be straightforward, said Hoechster, and include media relations and establishing the "thought leadership" of WPNI staff members through speeches and contributed articles in various venues.
While the WashingtonPost.com has a strong brand image, the online news space is a highly competitive environment, especially in politics. For example, Allbritton Communications' Politico. com, which will feature two former Washington Post staffers, is scheduled to launch soon.
Magnet will also work on BudgetTravelOnline.com, the Web site for Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine, which is operated in conjunction with WPNI.
Ad Management Insights handled selection of the agency after a search that lasted several months, with the contract finalized at the beginning of the year.
"They were looking for an agency with interactive news media experience," said Lynn Osborne, Ad Management Insights president. "A lot of [agencies] boast about having interactive experience, but not that many have actual news media experience."
Magnet, which recently closed its DC office, declined to comment on details of the contract, though it's estimated to be worth several hundred thousand dollars. A WPNI representative did not respond to requests for comment by press time.