Technology: Weber Shandwick nabs Virtual Earth

Microsoft's mapping platform Virtual Earth has handed an account to Weber Shandwick, in a move that supplements the agency's work as Microsoft's corporate agency for the EMEA region.

Virtual Earth provides mapping software for businesses using aerial photography, bird's eye view and 3D images.

It works across the retail, real estate and travel sectors providing services to companies such as The Body Shop, BP and FedEx.

Weber Shandwick has stolen the account from incumbent agency Waggener Edstrom, without participating in a competitive pitch.

Weber Shandwick's brief is to promote Virtual Earth on a b2b level. The agency will work on product launches and media tours with Virtual Earth's executive team. Digital will be an important element and will involve creating content and engaging bloggers. Weber Shandwick will target a wide range of media including the technology, business and trade press, as well as online media.

Virtual Earth's customers include property company Rightmove, which uses the maps to allow homeowners to zoom in on properties.

Weber Shandwick technology director David Lawrence said the virtual mapping market was growing. 'It will become the standard that people expect,' he said.

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