Dash.com on a Shopping Trip

Dash.com, an Internet discount shopping startup, is seeking an ad agency to handle its official launch later this year.
The company is backed by AT&T Ventures, J.P. Morgan, Wasserstein Perella & Co. and Affinity Partners International, which have made a total investment of $12 million. The client launched a beta version of its Web site and software in mid-August, but is planning a full brand rollout–with TV, print and radio ads–ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Each visitor to the site is asked to download the “Dash bar,” a piece of software that sits on a computer desktop. When users surf affiliated e-commerce sites, such as J. Crew, Barnes & Noble or eToys, the Dash bar tracks any purchases, and, depending on the site, will trigger a rebate of up to 50 percent of the asking price. Once $20 or more is accumulated in a person’s account, Dash will send a check directly to the consumer or channel the funds to a designated charity.
The company already reviewed shops for its public relations chores, which landed at Edelman Public Relations Worldwide in New York. Other contenders were not disclosed.
Dash CEO Daniel Kaufman and evp, marketing Andrew Williams (who confirmed the review) are
talking to New York shops about handling $5-10 million in general ad duties over the next year.
The client, which is still contacting shops, will meet three agencies this week and next, Williams said, and expects to hear strategic and creative ideas, although sources said no spec creative is required. Williams said Dash wants to avoid the kind of outrageous ads that have characterized much dot-com advertising.
One potential problem for contenders is identifying target consumers and developing brand positioning beyond Dash’s own description as a “mobile shopping portal.” The client expects agencies to provide outside consumer research to support a plan.
“Until they get data on who’s using them it’s hard to say” whom Dash should target, said a source.