EPB Takes Up Piiq

Earle Palmer Brown has come up big in its e-shopping cart, landing media and creative duties for Piiq.com, an account with estimated billings of $50 million.
The agency beat out several other undisclosed shops here for the online shopping-portal business. The client, a latecomer to the category, launches its first national network-TV spot Nov. 22.
“It’s still a very new industry,” said Piiq chief financial officer Philip Richards, who expressed confidence in the site’s ability to compete with such shopping portals as 4Anything.com and ShopNow.com. “This [holiday season] is going to be a huge, huge [online] selling period, and we’ll be right there for it.”
New York-based Piiq has a unique “bookend” search feature: Users tap the letters “p” and “q” on either end of each category query. For example, typing, “Ptoysq,” brings up a list of toy sites that Piiq has pre-screened and ranked in terms of customer service, shipping, inventory and other features.
“The beauty of it is that you don’t have to remember [the URLs] of any of the branded sites,” said Philip Pilla, EPB general manager of advertising, who led the pitch from the account side. Piiq also displays a “retention bar” onscreen so that users may navigate easily from online store to “mall.”
The first TV spot in the campaign, which will include print and radio, highlights the search feature. In the ad, two actors dressed as the “p” and “q” keys are fed up with being tapped so often. They storm the offices of Piiq, demanding to know who decided to use those letters in the site’s applications. Ex-New York Giant Jarrod Bunch also makes an appearance, as a security guard.
R.J. Palmer, the recently acquired media unit of parent company EPB Communications, is handling media buying and planning. The campaign as yet has no tagline, but will include direct marketing, event marketing, public relations and business-to-business components.
Ned Clausen, EPB director of business-to-business marketing, will oversee the business-to-business effort. The bricks-and-mortar backers of Piiq, who were undisclosed, plan to take the company public next year, a source said. K