Benevolink Evaluates Atlanta Agencies

ATLANTA Start-up Benevolink is considering four shops in a review for its estimated $10 million advertising account, sources said.

The Atlanta-based micro-investment company has narrowed its choice to WPP Group’s J. Walter Thompson, Grey Global Group’s Grey, independent Match and Fitzgerald + Co., a unit of the Interpublic Group, all in Atlanta, sources said. There is no consultant.

Initially, the company called itself Lion’s Share. In February the name was changed to Benevolink. Grey in Atlanta created a logo and developed some strategic planning over the last six months for the company, according to shop president and chief creative officer Joel Babbit.

“It’s a new business, but a very good idea,” said Babbit. “It’s a business that allows consumers to make purchases in which a part of the price goes toward charitable or civic or educational purposes.”

The company’s business model is similar to Upromise, a college savings program started by Digitas founder Michael Bonner in 2000.

Consumers, businesses and local charities, schools and/or churches are linked via loyalty programs whereby a portion of sales is placed in accounts that are managed by the client but controlled by the consumer. A small percentage is retained by the company.

“Whenever I use my CVS or Publix customer card, a portion of what I spend goes into the Benevolink account,” said one user. “Quarterly, you go in and allot where you want your money to go.”

Benevolink needs an agency to introduce the concept, explain the category and ensure that it becomes a leader, sources said. “It will need to be very involved in the day-to-day marketing operations, like a marketing department,” a source said.

The client could not be reached immediately for comment.