Simons Woos Women’s Network

Shop to Break First Ads for CBS-Backed Consumer Organization
BOSTON–Partners & Simons has been named the first advertising agency for the Women’s Consumer Network.
WCN is a for-profit, national membership organization which is 40 percent owned by CBS Corp. Partners & Simons, Boston, won the $15 million account after a three-month national review that included a number of undisclosed agencies.
Pro Media of Natick, Mass., is handling media planning and buying.
Separately, WCN hired women-owned Promarc of Washington, D.C., for public relations duties.
WCN chief executive Melissa Moss said she chose Partners & Simons, one of the smaller contenders in the review, so her 2-year-old organization would get the attention it needs.
Moss also is impressed with the shop’s creative work. “We think it is smart and fresh, and cuts through the clutter,” she said.
The agency account team, led by Teri Kinsella, is working with Moss and WCN’s senior vice president of marketing, Melinda Halpert.
Partners & Simons will unveil a national radio and outdoor campaign for the Washington, D.C.-based organization in February. Television spots will begin in April.
Moss founded the network after working 20 years in government, most recently as director of the Office of Business Liaison in the U.S. Department of Commerce, where she worked with the late commerce secretary, Ron Brown.
When she decided to enter the private sector, “I really wanted to start a business that would do good in this world,” Moss said.
WCN’s goal is to save women time and money. For an annual fee, network members receive a bi-monthly consumer newsletter and gain access to special pricing on products and services ranging from car repair to computers.
WCN began as a direct mail marketer and has since launched a Web site, The site features product comparisons compiled by employees. Moss expects to double the 16-member staff in the next four months.
Members can order products via the Internet. WCN negotiates its special rates using the combined buying power of its members. Moss said “tens of thousands of women” already have signed up as a result of WCN’s direct mail campaigns.
Moss is counting on the ad campaign to reach more women. According to WCN, women are the primary purchasers in 85 percent of U.S. homes, contributing about $3.5 trillion to the nation’s economy.