USA: eVineyard Partners With Four Leading Marketing Firms

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eVineyard has signed partnership agreements with four nationally renowned marketing agencies to strengthen its lead in the wine B2C e-tailing category. The partnerships, which are launching in tandem, are timed to create a powerful presence in the space at the outset of the year's primary wine buying season. Brett E. Lauter, vice president and chief marketing officer for eVineyard, announced the appointments of public relations agency Paige Poulos Communications (PPCWineCom), advertising agency Borders Perrin and Norrander (BPN), Internet professional services firm CyberSight and software integrator and developer CTR Business Systems (CTR).

Lauter noted that the company's ability to attract the range of talent the partnerships represent is a measure of the market's confidence in the company's ability to prevail as the leader in the lucrative space. "Our new partners have proven track records and distinguished reputations in their respective fields," he said, "and eVineyard is very pleased to have this powerful team behind us as we launch a comprehensive campaign to increase our market share in each of the 25 states in which we are currently selling wine," he said.

eVineyard's new partners will be a powerful force in spreading the word about the unparalleled service, selection and speed offered by the company. "Our outreach will do more than drive eVineyard customer acquisition," said Lauter. "The true power of this alliance is its potential to drive eVineyard marketing campaigns while expanding the number of people using the Internet to buy wine and wine accessories," he said.

The four firms will broaden brand awareness and strengthen eVineyard's preeminent position in online wine retailing. PPC will handle public relations and event management. BPN will develop branding, creative and offline advertising. CyberSight will spearhead eVineyard's online audience development strategy, which will include online media planning and placement. And CTR will provide website creative direction, business analysis and human factors analysis, as well as technical services to provide an enhanced customer experience.

"eVineyard has developed the most comprehensive and customer-friendly approach to online wine retailing," said Paige Poulos, president and CEO of Paige Poulos Communications, a twenty-year veteran of wine industry public relations and marketing communications. "No other competitor in the space has a business plan that is scaleable, legal and so completely user friendly. Right now we're seeing a consolidation of wine e-tailers as they recognize the weaknesses in their plans, yet they aren't emerging as more powerful companies," she said. "eVineyard is the single player in the space that can stand alone and serve every aspect of the market from producers and their distributors through to the customer. That's a very impressive business plan," said Poulos.

"We are very excited to be working with eVineyard," said Jack Peterson, director of account services at Borders Perrin and Norrander. "This category is a natural fit for the Internet. eVineyard, with its unmatched access to market, has a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of the category's growth potential and it has the most to gain from the upward trend in online wine purchases. Our program will definitely increase eVineyard's customer acquisition pace," he said.

"CyberSight will generate new customer relationships by relaunching the eVineyard brand to attract an expanded audience through online advertising, partnership marketing and promotions," said Patrick Coyle, general manager of CyberSight's San Francisco office, which will oversee the account. "This interactive outreach will reinforce eVineyard's position as the premier wine retailer on the Internet by giving the company an in-depth understanding of its customers while providing those customers with a personalized online experience."

eVineyard's current growth exceeds 150% per quarter since launch in 1999. "As eVineyard's customer base continues its rapid growth, CTR will provide e-commerce software, consultation and other technical and business services to bring exciting improvements to the website," said Doug Foley, president of CTR. "Website dynamics are one of the cornerstones of customer retention," he said. "Our solutions will provide powerful incentives for repeat purchases on the site."

About the Agencies

Paige Poulos Communications, founded in 1990, is one of the wine and spirits industry's most enduring public relations agencies, renowned for strategic public relations plans that build brands and enhance reputations. The small, dynamic agency, based in Berkeley, California, represents Wente Vineyards, Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves, Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, Ficklin Vineyards, Sabate USA, and Luctor International among others.

Borders Perrin and Norrander, located in Portland, Oregon, is a full-service advertising agency with a long-standing reputation for serving rapidly growing national brands with creative and strategic excellence. The Borders Perrin and Norrander portfolio currently includes work for Columbia Sportswear, Enron Broadband Services, Digimarc and Eidos, among others.

One of North America's leading Internet professional services firms, CyberSight provides integrated interactive strategy, marketing, website design and development, and technical services for established category leaders and emerging companies. Key clients include Visa, The Quaker Oats Company, Molson Canada, Dole Food Company, Nissan, Northwest Airlines, IBM, Honda and Acura Canada. CyberSight, headquartered in Portland with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto, is majority-owned by MDC Corporation Inc. and its subsidiary, Maxxcom Inc.

CTR is a provider of e-business solutions that integrate customer-facing websites with business systems--including order entry and tracking, financial management, inventory control, manufacturing, distribution, sales, marketing and customer support systems. This integration of Web and business systems is the key to the competitive advantage that companies seek from doing business on the Internet. In March 2000, CTR was ranked 11th on the list of "100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon" by Oregon Business Magazine, and in 1998 it was named Microsoft Partner of the Year for the Pacific Northwest region. CTR is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and has branch offices in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

About eVineyard

The only multistate licensed online wine retailer and the leader in the B2C wine market, eVineyard legally serves wine buyers in 25 states--more than 70% of the United States market for off-premise premium wine sales. With its seven current logistic centers and the imminent opening of three additional centers, Portland, Oregon-based eVineyard will soon serve each of the country's top 10 wine markets, reaching 75% of the market and serving 28 states.

eVineyard offers a selection of over 5,000 domestic and imported premium wines and has exceptional features such as online education, promotions and loyalty programs, sweepstakes events, a wine club and free shipping with purchases over $25. eVineyard's superior selection and delivery capabilities have led to growth averaging more than 150% per quarter since launch. The company expects to achieve profitability in 2001.

Companies: Molson Coors

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