Washington, D.C. and Boston, MA, January 10, 2008 — Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (Ogilvy PR) and BzzAgent, Inc., an international word-of-mouth media network, have formed a non-exclusive strategic partnership to offer Ogilvy PR clients comprehensive word-of-mouth communications solutions. The alliance allows Ogilvy PR to tap into BzzAgent's community of 370,000 consumer volunteers as part of the strategic public relations, marketing and communications services it provides clients. Ogilvy PR is the first public relations agency to develop a formal relationship with BzzAgent.
"Word-of-mouth marketing is organic to public relations and something we are extremely bullish on," said John Bell, managing director of 360° Digital Influence at Ogilvy PR. "We have a deep commitment to integrating this discipline into all facets of our work-both online via digital influence and offline where most of word of mouth happens. As consumer advocacy and peer to peer reviews rise, it becomes even more important to our business."
BzzAgent allows companies to generate honest, credible awareness and collect valuable feedback on products and services through its growing community of 370,000 consumer volunteers who have been educated on effective and ethical approaches to opinion sharing. Ogilvy PR and its 360° Digital Influence group led by Bell, is a leader in the social media and comprehensive digital marketing arena and helps clients navigate an increasingly complex and rapidly changing digital environment. This new, expanded offering will provide clients across all practices with a more sophisticated approach to word-of-mouth communications and cutting-edge media strategies.
"Our partnership with Ogilvy PR is a milestone for the PR industry because it demonstrates that word of mouth is not reserved solely for advertising and media buying agencies," said Dave Balter, CEO of BzzAgent. "Ogilvy PR is now demonstrating to the world that word of mouth can-and should-be a public relations function as well."
Word-of-mouth marketing has grown rapidly because consumers trust the opinions of others more than they do scripted marketing messages. In fact, a recent Nielsen survey found that 78 percent of consumers found recommendations from others to be the most credible form of advertising.
"Over the last year, word-of-mouth marketing, online and offline, has become an integral part of our consumer marketing offering. Increasingly, it is embedded into all client programs not as a nice-to-do but a must do. The combination of traditional media relations and authentic consumer conversation needs to become the norm, said Barby K. Siegel, managing director of Ogilvy PR's global consumer marketing practice.
As they ready to launch their second word-of-mouth campaign, BzzAgent will now provide Ogilvy PR preferred partner status, provide training and best practice resources to the agency's staff and create measurable consumer advocacy tools to be developed on behalf of clients. Ogilvy PR staff members have already has earned word-of-mouth certification through BzzAgent.
"BzzAgent has built its business on successful word of mouth marketing-coming together in a formal partnership is a natural fit," added Bell.
Ogilvy PR's 360° Digital Influence group based in Washington, DC will manage the relationship and organize activity between the agency, client and BzzAgent.
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About Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (Ogilvy PR) is a leading global marketing communications firm, with offices in more than 60 cities around the world. In its 26th year, Ogilvy PR provides strategic public relations counsel to a variety of clients across its consumer marketing, corporate, healthcare, technology, public affairs and social marketing practices. The agency also has an entertainment practice that is led by its subsidiary B|W|R Public Relations and offers biotechnology and government affairs expertise through its subsidiaries Feinstein Kean Healthcare and Ogilvy Government Relations, respectively. Ogilvy PR is part of the WPP Group, one of the world's largest communications services organizations (NASDAQ: WPPGY, www.wpp.com). For more information, please visit our Web site at www.ogilvypr.com.
BzzAgent, Inc. is an international word-of-mouth media network that helps companies to organize and manage honest, real-world conversations among everyday consumers. BzzAgent's innovative process, platform and programs enable the acceleration and measurement of word of mouth as a marketing medium. BzzAgent's clients generate awareness and shape perception about their products and services via the company's growing community of 370,000 trained consumer volunteers. Since 2006, BzzAgent participants spread honest word of mouth to more than 60 million friends and family members. For more information, on the company visit www.bzzagent.com or www.bzzagent.co.uk.
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide