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IQ News: Greeting Card Site Signs On with Agency

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To attract consumers during the upcoming holiday season, Sparks.com, an online store for traditional paper greeting cards, has chosen Chicago-based interactive shop Four Points Digital to create an online advertising campaign. Previously, the San Francisco-based greeting card company had handled its marketing in-house.
"We are about a year old and have only recently grown large enough to work with an agency," said Lizzie Nichols, director of marketing for Sparks.com. Sandy Scherling, senior vice president/managing director at Four Points, said similar philosophies make the match a good one. "Sparks.com maintains an emphasis on customer relationships that is a perfect fit with our agency's 'eCustomer First' approach," Scherling said.
The campaign targets women between the ages of 25 and 54, who represent nine out of 10 greeting card buyers, according to Nichols. The ads are expected to launch in December and will run predominantly on e-commerce and women-focused sites. "By launching the campaign in December we will be able to maximize our online efforts for the Q4 holiday season," she said.
Four Points plans to develop rich media banner ads. "Basically we will be refreshing the advertising Sparks.com has already been doing in-house, and then developing rich media advertisements," said Scherling.
The new campaign reflects the growing trend toward purchasing greeting cards online. And vendors are eager for a piece of the action. Last month, for instance, Excite Home paid $780 million for Blue Mountain Arts, an online greeting card company that saw traffic jump 25 percent in October. Meanwhile, American
Greetings.com and Egreetings Networks have announced plans to go public.
Sparks.com has more than 12,000 cards in stock. The site allows customers to purchase individual paper cards online, unlike some competitors that sell only boxed cards online. Sparks.com also will handwrite a personalized message and signature on cards.
Four Points, which recently reorganized its creative department into three divisions--site development, eMarketing Communications and relationship marketing--has a client roster that includes Allstate Insurance and The Wall Street Journal Interactive. --Joanna Sabatini