Webvan shops online grocery acc't

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Webvan Group, the California home-delivery grocery service started by entrepreneur Louis Borders, has begun an agency review for an account that could reach more than $50 million as the brand rolls out.

Webvan launched its first advertising campaign in June through Gardner, Geary, Coll & Young, San Francisco. With spending in the range of $2 million, it included newspaper, radio and outdoor ads tagged "The world's market at your doorstep."


The marketer, which takes orders for groceries via the Internet and delivers them in company-owned vans, offers delivery within a 30-minute window selected by the consumer.

Chris Mannella, VP-marketing, said Webvan is looking for a strategic marketing partner to help the company with its planned national rollout. Webvan plans to move into Atlanta early next year and to construct warehouses in 26 markets over the next two years.

Although Mr. Mannella wouldn't disclose planned spending levels, the company has indicated it would maintain its advertising in new markets at levels comparable to that used in the Bay area to compete with competitors such as Peapod and HomeGrocer.com.


Webvan raised more than $120 million from investors such as Yahoo!, CBS Corp., Softbank Corp. and LVMH. In early August, it began preparing for an initial public offering of stock.

Mr. Borders made his mark--along with brother Thomas--in 1971 when the two founded Borders Group, parent of Borders Books & Music. The two sold that retail chain to Kmart Corp. in 1992.

Mr. Mannella, who previously worked with Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/ Euro RSCG, New York, when he was VP-sales and service operations at MCI WorldCom, is conducting the review in-house and said he has a list of five agencies, most with offices in the Bay area.

Gardner Geary decided not to participate.

Copyright August 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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