Upromise, a relationship marketing company headed by Digitas founder Michael Bronner, is close to selecting an agency for its $20 million to $30 million branding campaign.
Well-known agency creative Gordon Bowen is also involved with the venture, scheduled to launch later this year.
Upromise plans to work with marketers on a higher education rewards program, according to an executive close to the situation. Consumers will be able to accumulate financial rewards for purchases that then would be applied toward a child's education, the executive said.
Review consultancy Pile & Co., Boston, has responsibility for the agency search, with a decision expected in the next few weeks. The agencies involved were undisclosed.
Mr. Bowen did some consulting work for Mr. Bronner's former company, Digitas, earlier this year on the company's American Express Co. account. Mr. Bronner left Digitas and became chairman emeritus in December when the company began proceedings for an initial public stock offering. He remains a member of the board, and David Kenny now is chairman at Digitas.
A Mormon who moved to Madison Avenue, Mr. Bowen has held lofty creative positions at Ogilvy & Mather, Y&R Advertising and McCann-Erickson Worldwide, all New York. While at Ogilvy, he spearheaded the well-received "Portraits" print effort for American Express in the late 1980s, which used the tagline "Membership has its privileges." At Y&R, he worked with another blue chip client, AT&T Corp.
Mr. Bronner has had his fair share of experience with Fortune 500 clients. Marketers such as American Express, AT&T, Federal Express Corp. and General Motors Co. dot the client roster of Digitas. It was unclear if those companies would be involved with the new Upromise venture.
A Upromise employee confirmed the organization is on the hunt for an advertising agency, but declined to describe Upromise's business model or disclose information about its marketing partners. The employee said Upromise will unveil details about its business plans closer to its formal launch later this year. Both Messrs. Bronner and Bowen did not return calls for comment.
In addition to registering the URL for Upromise.com, the company has also registered upromise.net and upromise.org as well as lifetimerewards.com.
In the December Digitas' Securities & Exchange Commission filing for its IPO, Mr. Bronner was described as president of Lifetime Rewards.com
Jeff Bussgang, formerly VP-worldwide marketing and business development at e-commerce marketing software company Open Market, started at the Brookline, Mass.-based company in January.
Copyright May 2000, Crain Communications Inc.