Middleberg Launches Online Direct Marketing Unit

New York-based public relations agency Middleberg Euro Tuesday took the wraps off its online direct marketing unit, ostensibly designed to capitalize on the burgeoning online direct marketing industry.

Burgeoning, that is, only in relation to the online ad industry. Web and e-mail marketers are faring slightly worse than their advertising counterparts, with companies like online promotional marketer FreeShop reporting better-than-expected revenues.

Middleberg’s new unit, Middleberg 1.2.1, does launch with some hefty and deep-pocketed clients, including MTV.com, VH1.com, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, HBO, and Teen People Online.

The agency has 20 full-time staffers and is headquartered in mid-town Manhattan.

Christopher Hayes, previously chief new economy officer for Middleberg Euro, will oversee the new unit. Hayes came to Middleberg from Softbank Interactive where as vice president of marketing, he worked with such leading Internet brands as Yahoo, Mapquest, and Netscape.

“Just as the digital space fundamentally transformed public relations, so too has it changed direct marketing,” Middleberg Euro chairman and CEO Don Middleberg said. “What we have done is to combine the best practices in both disciplines for one clear-cut purpose: helping our clients grow their business in the new economy.”

The company said its capabilities include fairly traditional affiliate, opt-in e-mail, and promotional programs — which it is bundling together as “1.2.1. Personalized Marketing” — as well as more technical offerings like search engine optimization.

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