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DM Shop Helps Drkoop.com Go Global

VentureDirect Worldwide, New York, is riding the swell of appeal for consumer-focused Internet healthcare network Drkoop.com Inc. with the announcement this week that it will be instrumental in expanding the network even further. Drkoop.com, which is headed by former U.S Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop, wants to position itself as a leading global brand.

VentureDirect, the online agency of record for the network, has been helping plan, develop and manage the company's online marketing programs since February. But last week, as Drkoop.com (www.drkoop.com) unveiled its global branding initiative, VentureDirect was given the task of implementation in conjunction with Lowe & Partners, New York. Lowe & Partners is part of Interpublic Group of Companies' unit Lowe & Partners Worldwide.

According to VentureDirect spokeswoman Monica Wik, “Dr. Koop has explained to us that VentureDirect will be working directly with Lowe & Partners. It's something that they're very excited about at VentureDirect,” she said.

However, Andrew Wagner, senior media planner at VentureDirect, said officials at Drkoop.com had yet to sit down with both agencies to fully define what the brand would ultimately look like on a global scale. “We will definitely be working hand-in-hand to make sure the brand is executed properly online,” he said.

The success of Drkoop.com as a public company reflects nicely on the direct marketing services provided by VentureDirect thus far, and it's something the agency is well aware of.

“People in the marketing services industry in general are aware that we are their online agency of record,” said Wagner. “They know that VentureDirect is buying the media for Drkoop.com.”

Traditionally speaking, brands are usually developed for global marketing long before direct marketing strategies are executed. But Wagner said Dr. Koop was a strong brand before it became an online phenomenon.

At Lowe & Partners, a spokesman said it was premature to comment on the extent to which Drkoop.com might become involved in licensing, direct mail fundraising or possibly even insurance and healthcare.

The award-winning Drkoop.com presence currently characterizes itself as a Web site for consumers who are looking to benefit from the more than 50 disease protocols and more than 1,700 health and wellness topics covered at the site with content from the Dartmouth Medical School. The portal also maintains 130 interactive community support groups and message boards, and is the exclusive provider of health and related content on three Web sites of the GO Network. In addition, Drkoop.com is also the premier health content provider across five AOL brands: AOL Service, AOL.COM, Netscape Netcenter, Digital City and CompuServe.

Billings for Dr.Koop.com were not disclosed.

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