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Bids on a Whiteboard

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Virtual Ink Puts $5-8 Mil. Account in Play
BOSTON--Virtual Ink Corp. here is looking for an agency to help launch Mimio, a product that allows personal computers to capture and share material created on electronic whiteboards and used for business presentations.
The 2-year-old company has hired consulting firm Pile and Co., Boston, to oversee the search for its first agency of record. Ad spending will be in the $5-8 million range.
Shops in New York, Boston, Chicago and the Washington, D.C.-Virginia area are being contacted and a list of contenders is expected in two weeks, said Virtual Ink president Greg McHale. A final decision will be made by the end of September.
Agencies must have a mix of business-to-business and consumer expertise, as the company is looking to sell the product "to anyone who uses a whiteboard, not [necessarily] a CIO or senior manager," McHale said.
The ability to appeal to consumers one-on-one is paramount. The client also wants to see "imaginative, funky ideas" from agencies, perhaps incorporating billboards and other visuals in high-traffic areas such as airports, he said.
A nationwide branding push is slated to begin around year's end and will likely include TV, radio, print, direct and Web executions, he said.
With 40-80 million electronic whiteboards in use today--and only 10,000 Mimios currently on order--the winning shop will be charged with helping sell the product to as many potential users as possible, McHale said.
Mimio allows material written on electronic whiteboards to be saved to PCs and shared with remote participants in real time over the Internet.