Online Farm Aid Selects Rockett

XS Inc.’s Agricultural Web Site Signs First Advertising Partner
ATLANTA–Rockett Burkhead & Winslow has been selected by XS Inc., an online specialist that simplifies agricultural transactions and distribution, to develop strategic positioning, advertising and public relations for its new Web site,
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.” enables agricultural 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., company also heard pitches from shops in St. Louis, New York and a pair of agencies in both Chicago and Research Triangle Park, N.C. Though “everybody kept telling us that [RB&W] didn’t know anything about the agriculture [business] . . . I thought they were perfect,” he said. “They don’t come to us with any baggage.”
RB&W 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.”
“This need exists with or without the Internet,” Burkhead said. “It just so happens that the Internet came along and is a great tool for making it happen. These guys came along at the right time to serve a lot people.”
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.
“Along with the three healthcare accounts announced last month, RB&W is experiencing its best new business period in its 15-year history,” Burkhead said.