RealTime IT News

Boo.com's Demise Reverberates Through Ad World

The death of UK-based clothing e-tailer boo.com, ascribed at least partially to over-the-top marketing spending, could be causing a lot of boo-hoos in the advertising industry.

An executive for KPMG's Corporate Recovery -- which has been appointed provisional liquidator of the firm's assets -- said the UK-based e-commerce company owes $30 million, and counts a number of advertising industry folks among its creditors, according to a report in Advertising Age's Interactive Daily.

As boo.com, and other e-tailers, have teetered precariously close to running out of money in recent weeks, there's been much talk in the advertising industry about what impact their demise would have on a business that swelled on e-commerce marketing spending.

Boo.com burst upon the scene -- with a late launch -- in October 1999, making a big splash with advertising and public relations in six different countries.

The company's advertising account was handled by BMP DDB London and it launched a campaign with a $65 million ad spend in November 1999. The effort, scheduled to go for two years, launched in the UK, the U.S., Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

Television ads were made by music video director Roman Coppola, and featured five "computer geeks" dressed in stylish clothing. The three executions ran on television and in movie theaters in the UK in November and December.

Boo.com's initial PR push in the U.S. was crafted by Connors Communications, and Hill & Knowlton picked up from there, doing most of the work. Initial site design was Organic's work. Other partners included FreeShop.com and Mediopolis.

Most of these players wouldn't comment on the demise of boo.com, citing client confidentiality, but Organic admitted that the company owed it "an insignificant amount of money."

"I guess we're happy that three-fourths of our business is from bricks-and-mortar companies," said Catharine Taylor, with Organic.

FreeShop.com says the now-defunct company ran a 10-day campaign on its site, and says the money it's owed is "definitely not a significant thing for us."

"I guess, like everybody else, we're wondering if we'll get paid for that," said Heidi Hutchinson, senior public relations manager for FreeShop.com.