VML Wins ePrize Account

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Fresh from winning the hrblock.com account, VML has been named advertising agency of record by online sweepstakes marketer ePrize Inc.

VML, Kansas City, MO, beat out more than 20 agencies that pitched for the $10 million account, including finalists Tonic 360 and Bravo Marketing. Parish & Partners, Troy, MI, was the incumbent.

Majority owned by Rare Medium Group Inc., ePrize is known for advertising that openly says it bribes consumers to visit a client's site. Now it wants to be known for more than just sweepstakes.

"They've got a great brand campaign, but we want to move toward more action-oriented advertising that gets more product leads and inquiries," said Mike Yardley, director of new business development and Internet strategy at VML.

"We need to get more qualified people to inquire, rather than traffic," Yardley added.

EPrize is VML's third promotions client. The 8-year-old agency has worked on the Sprint FonPromotions account for five years and the American Express Incentives Services for two years. Total billings last year were $90 million.

The new advertising will reflect ePrize's move into areas beyond sweepstakes. The Farmington Hills, MI, company particularly is interested in promoting its patent-pending Pooled eDrawings service for customer acquisition and retention.

VML will handle e-commerce strategy, advertising and marketing in this repositioning exercise. This includes a presence in media such as direct mail, events and seminars, sales support material, business-to-business print ads, taxis and spot TV.

VML will work with Beyond Interactive, ePrize's interactive agency, to integrate the online components of the campaign.

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