Pitch for iVillage £40m business

Online community iVillage is seeking creative and media agencies to handle its UK marketing, which will be worth more than &£40m over the next three years.

The service, which is aimed at 25- to 55-year-old women, is poised to launch before Christmas at iVillage.co.uk. It is backed by Tesco, which has given $18m (&£11m) to the marketing programme.

The two companies claim to have set aside a combined total of $70m (&£47m) to spend on marketing, branding, intellectual property and other promotional resources over the next three years.

IVillage will not confirm exactly how much the creative account will be worth, but says it will be a “sizeable proportion” of the total budget.

IVillage will have a major in-store campaign in Tesco and presence in the store’s magazine and on the Tesco.com Internet service provider. In return, Tesco will be heavily featured on the iVillage site.

IVillage uses Los Angeles agency Frielend Jacobs for its creative and media accounts in the US, where the site has been extremely successful since its launch in January 1996.

The UK launch campaign will also feature online, press and poster work and eventually TV ads.

Chairman and co-founder Candice Carpenter, a former president of Time Warner’s Time Life Video and Television division, says iVillage will use Tesco’s existing direct marketing agency ehs, which handles Clubcard mailings in conjunction with the retailer’s creative agency Lowe Lintas.

Carpenter will also appoint a head of sales and marketing next month.

IVillage.co.uk will initially feature eight channels, from health to parenting information, and noticeboards and chatrooms.

The UK launch is iVillage’s first venture outside the US. The company will eventually roll out the service across the globe.

In the US, iVillage is backed by 30 blue chip companies, including Unilever and NBC.

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