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Virtual Vineyards Signs with Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners

Online wine merchant Virtual Vineyards chose kirshenbaum bond & partners west in San Francisco to handle its account.

The agency will focus on the development of an advertising and branding campaign to build awareness of Virtual Vineyards among consumers and to increase its customer base. Billings were not disclosed.

"We hired kb&p west because of their strong experience in consumer brand advertising and their innovative approach to creative," said Rita Belle, director of marketing and advertising at Virtual Vineyards. "We expect kb&p's experience and knowledge in these areas to provide us with a strong branding and advertising campaign in 1999."

Virtual Vineyards was launched in January 1995. It presents its wine and specialty foods in an unpretentious way to simplify and demystify the wine- buying process. Peter Granoff, Virtual Vineyards' online "cork dork," greets each customer and guides them through the store, presenting detailed tasting charts and notes to help them learn more about wine and food while making their purchases.

"Buying wine can be intimidating, and there's a massive opportunity for the enthusiastic education that Virtual Vineyards does so well," said Nigel Carr, managing partner and general manager, kb&p west. "We're thrilled to be taking on the task of making them as famous offline as they are already on the Web."

kirshenbaum bond & partners was founded in 1987 by Richard Kirshenbaum and Jon Bond. kb&p has since grown to become a communications company with more than 220 employees and offices in New York and San Francisco, with billings reaching over $250 million. kb&p west, which opened in August 1997, currently has 15 employees and $14 million in billings.