SHOP SEARCH FLOWERS WITH CAP CITIES' AID

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Catalog floral marketer Calyx & Corolla, armed with a major financial investment from Capital Cities/ABC, is searching for its first ad agency.

Flush with the new support, the flower delivery service is looking to gain national visibility, brand recognition and compete in the same league as FTD/Florists' Transworld Delivery Association and Teleway's 800-Flowers, an FTD member.

The agency search comes after the San Francisco-based fresh-flower marketer exchanged a 20% stake in the $15 million company with a Cap Cities/ABC subsidiary for "a small amount of cash" and the promise of "extensive" advertising exposure in its media properties, the companies said.

Cap Cities/ABC owns the ABC TV and radio networks, eight TV stations, 15 radio stations and provides cable TV programming. The company also publishes eight daily and 70 weekly newspapers, shopping guides and specialized business periodicals and books.

Calyx & Corolla is carving out its own niche in the $13 billion floral market by shipping flowers directly from growers to consumers through Federal Express Corp. Customers get fresher, longer-lasting flowers at a competitive price, the company said.

FTD spends an estimated $40 million on advertising through D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit; 800-Flowers spends about $11 million through McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, and McCann Interactive, Chicago.

Calyx & Corolla expects to complete the review by yearend.

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