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Online Farm Aid Picks Its First Ad Partner

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XS Inc.'s Agricultural Site Signs Rockett Burkhead & Winslow
ATLANTA--Rockett Burkhead & Winslow has been selected by XS Inc., an online specialist that simplifies agricultural transactions and distribution, to develop advertising for its new Web site, XSAg.com.
The e-commerce account is expected to generate at least $15 million in billings over the next year. Rockett will be the client's first advertising agency, though the company had previously employed a New York public relations firm.
"We needed somebody fast moving and who wanted to put some skin in the game, so to speak," said client president and chief executive officer Fulton Breen. "They wanted to learn through this experience with us."
XSAg.com enables distributors, dealers, growers and buyers to conduct secure transactions using a neutral exchange service. Sales are listed in either an auction or fixed-price format.
"A lot of these [agriculture] people have been somewhat isolated and at the mercy of an antiquated distribution system," said agency president Scott Burkhead. "[XS has] figured out a unique platform for fulfillment that works in the real world of selling and buying."
Breen said the Cary, N.C., firm also heard pitches from shops in St. Louis, New York and two agencies in both Chicago and Research Triangle Park, N.C. Though "everybody kept telling us that [RB&W] didn't know anything about the agricultural [business] . . . I thought they were perfect," he said. "They don't come to us with any baggage."
The agency did its homework, Breen said, compiling hours of video footage from interviews with "hundreds, maybe a thousand farmers . . . They learned customer by customer what they needed to know."
RB&W will provide a range of marketing communications and consumer ads via traditional and online media. The first work will appear next month in print and on targeted media like The Farm Channel.