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Hhm... awarded Virgin Travelstore's leisure brief

LONDON - Virgin Travelstore, the online travel agency business of the Virgin Group, has awarded integrated communications agency hhm... its seven-figure brief for the leisure side of the business.

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The agency won the business following a four-way pitch conducted through the Marketing Communication Consultants Association.

The agency has devised an above- and below-the-line strategy to grow Virgin Travelstore's market share, and includes brand strategy, identity, press, radio, direct mail, data analysis and point of sale.

The campaign will support online activity that has been developed in-house by Virgin's own creatives.

Rachael Anderson, Virgin Travelstore head of marketing and commercial, said: "Hhm... demonstrated that it understood our business, the brand and the environment in which we operate and that it could deliver powerful creative that will effectively meet our brand objectives."

She added: "We were looking for a partner to really get close to all areas of our business -- the Virgin way. We found the hhm... culture a natural reflection of our own."

The online travel agency began talks with below-the-line shops last month. Virgin Travelstore previously worked with Oxford consultancy the JJ Group, which did not repitch.

In January, JJ Group produced offline and online versions of its annual customer brochure, which it sent to more than 500,000 people to boost the number of bookings through its online facility.

Virgin Travelstore merged with sister e-commerce company Worldwide Travel in February 2001 and is owned by Virgin Retail Travel Group.

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