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Amazon.com to Use Direct Mail

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Bronnercom West Tapped for Test; Dot.Coms Eye Move Closely
SAN FRANCISCO--In a move likely to be scrutinized by a host of e-commerce companies, Amazon.com is set to begin experimenting with marketing by direct mail, tapping Bronnercom's West Coast office for the assignment.
The agency was selected after a review of undisclosed shops.
Bronnercom will unveil a mail campaign in mid-January that reflects the look and feel of the company's TV ads by Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco (see New Campaigns, page 28). If the test goes well, a comprehensive national effort will roll out by spring.
Spending was undisclosed, but sources expect a "substantial" investment somewhere in the eight-figure range. Amazon's ad budget for the fourth quarter alone is estimated at $40-50 million.
Amazon's move into direct may spur others to follow suit. Less expensive and more personalized, direct response would allow dot.coms to customize brand messages to specific users, much the way online banners and promotions do, sources said.
E-commerce sites are new to direct marketing, said Jay Hussey, president of Bronnercom, San Francisco. Using Amazon's customer database, the agency intends to send "very specific, customized calls to action," a source said. In conjunction, Amazon is expected to create a "landing spot" on its site for users responding to the mail offer.
Cross-selling--promoting music or toys to book customers, for example--will be an important component of the effort, sources said. While matching the tone of FCB's advertising, Bronnercom will incorporate its own concepts, "rather than [do] a translation job, which never works," Hussey said.
As far as Bronnercom is concerned, Hussey was quick to put the assignment in perspective. "For us, this is just a foot in the door with the e-commerce leader," he said.
Amazon.com comes aboard just a week after sources close to Boston-based Bronnercom said the independent agency will make an initial public offering early next year [Adweek, Nov. 29]. K