Call Winkler the Interactive Alter Ego of Lara Croft

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Agnieszka Winkler, CEO and founder of Winkler Advertising, San Francisco, has more than a few things in common with one of her of clients, Eidos Interactive's Lara Croft, the treasure hunter of the digital world.

Ms. Winkler, like the star of the popular video game Tomb Raider, is a digital pioneer. One of the first women in the field of high-tech marketing, her 14-year-old agency has taken a lead in applying technology to the advertising business.

Radio spots on Web
Four years ago, her shop was among the first companies, let alone ad agencies, to establish a Web site ( Later, the site broadcast one of the first radio spots on the Web.

Ms. Winkler's agency also hasn't been shy about getting its hands on nuts-and-bolts technology programming. For client Hewlett-Packard Co., Winkler last year developed a customized software capable of allowing it to manage the 15 marketing communications agencies working on branding strategy.

Ms. Winkler is now about to write the book on technology marketing, literally. She is under contract with Wiley & Sons to author Getting Zapped, a book on what consumer marketers can learn from technology marketing.

"Tech companies know things about marketing that consumer marketers have to learn," she says, such as using technology to create ongoing consumer relationships.

Over the years, she has negotiated her way through a number of creative partners, as well as a move from Silicon Valley to San Francisco. Last summer, the agency announced plans to open a New York office, but those plans were dropped.

Now a pilot and member of the boards of an airline, HMO and two universities, Ms. Winkler presides over a staff that speaks 13 languages and handles a bevy of clients, including Ascend Software and Sony of America. Last year, she further solidified her company's potential by selling an undisclosed equity position in the agency to Grey Ventures, an independent venture capital arm of Grey Advertising.

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