Black Ink Marketing Wins Prodigy

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Following a review of several firms, brand consulting and integrated advertising services agency BLACK Ink. Marketing said yesterday it was awarded the direct and e-mail marketing account for all acquisition and retention programs for Prodigy Communications Corp. one of the nation's largest Internet service providers.

BLACK Ink Marketing, a firm started in 1997, will help Prodigy launch online and offline direct marketing initiatives that raise awareness of Prodigy's products, service and technology offerings among new prospects utilizing the theme line "Are you a prodigy?''

Referring to its new relationship with BLACK Ink as "a partnership," Margo Bartsch, vice president of advertising and marketing for Prodigy, said the company was "now putting a face to the Prodigy name in our direct mail and online programs."

"Black Ink's out-of-the-box creativity and keen understanding of the Internet space made them an ideal fit with Prodigy," Bartsch said, one that she assured would result in "breakthrough strategies to reach and capture the attention of our target audience in this competitive marketplace."

Commenting on the new business, Richard Dale, president of BLACK Ink, acknowledged that a powerful campaign would be necessary to get the job done. But he said the end result was to captivate and motivate Prodigy's target audiences.

"The bar is so high in this competitive arena [that] we'll utilize both the arts and sciences to breakthrough the clutter by communicating how Prodigy unlocks the potential of the Internet," Dale said. He also noted that the company is a "very integrated marketing firm," and said Prodigy liked them as an agency "especially because we are known for focusing on direct marketing campaigns a little differently than your traditional firm."

Prodigy's nationwide network currently covers 850 cities in the United States. Formerly the nation's leading online service, today the company tailors its services and technology to three fast-growing Internet markets: consumers, small business owners and the U.S. Hispanic population. The company's subsidiaries include Prodigy Biz Corporation, a small business Web hosting offering specially-designed Internet products and services for small businesses; and Prodigy en espanol, the fully bilingual Internet service created for the American Spanish-speaking population. All divisions combined, Prodigy's overall subscriber base is now about 1.2 million nationwide. The company regards America Online, AT&T Broadband & Internet Services and Microsoft Corporation as its core competitors.

Other Black Ink. Marketing clients include American Express Publishing,, Chase Bank, AFI and The Kooper Group.

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