Organic to Promote Priceline.co.uk

[London, ENGLAND] Internet professional services firm
Organic, Inc. announced Friday it will conduct a US $3 million
online campaign to launch Priceline.co.uk.

The campaign will start at the beginning of November
and run to January 2001, introducing the “name your own
price” Priceline concept to U.K. Internet users. The first
products to be offered will be airline tickets, followed by
hotel bookings, car rentals and long-distance telephony.

Behind the launch is Priceline Europe, a joint venture
backed by Priceline.com and private equity firm General
Atlantic Partners. It says it is adapting the system for
European markets, although exactly how it will differ
from the U.S. model is not yet clear.

In fact, John Baker, managing director of Organic’s
London office, said the Priceline concept was so popular
in the United States his firm “will be looking to replicate
this in the U.K.”

The timing of the remarks is perhaps unfortunate, as Priceline.com
in the U.S.

laid off 87 staff
earlier this week, having turned in poor results for the quarter.
In September it was forced to lower expectations by
admitting
that its third-quarter revenues
would be below the range of analysts’ estimates.

However, in Europe, the Priceline concept is new and
fresh — and the company expects to attract many customers
with the online campaign.

Earl Quenzel, head of marketing at Priceline Europe,
said there had been a competitive pitch for the promotional
account. It was felt that Organic had in-depth expertise
in this area, having successfully implemented online
campaigns for many other clients, said Quenzel.

Organic claims to have developed an exciting launch strategy
for Priceline, with the focus on defining the brand proposition
online. It will use streaming banner advertising, sponsorship,
search engine optimization and e-mail marketing to communicate
the message.

Instead of taking a direct approach via mainstream media, Organic
will infiltrate chat rooms and news groups, seek out grass roots
communities and put its client at the top of the search engines
— so the story goes.

To date, Organic has handled online promotions for DaimlerChrysler,
BT, Tommy Hilfiger, Blockbuster, Washington Mutual, and other
blue chip corporations.

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