SocialVibe, a West L.A. online advertising company, has secured $20 million in venture capital to expand its overseas operations.

Chief Executive Jay Samit said the money will go to hire staff at the company’s new office in London, which this year will run online campaigns in most of Europe’s major countries. The company also plans to move into Australia this year.

Here in Los Angeles, Samit expects his payroll to expand from 60 people to about 100 by the end of this year.

SocialVibe attracts a Web audience by offering people rewards in exchange for clicking on an ad. The prize may be points in an online game, virtual currency in an online world or a tiny cash donation to a charity. This strategy has won business from clients such as Walt Disney Co., McDonald’s Corp., Coca-Cola Co. and AT&T.

The leading contributor to the $20 million was Norwest Venture Partners of Palo Alto. In conjunction with the financing, Jeff Crowe, a general partner at Norwest, will join SocialVibe’s board.

Existing investors Redpoint Ventures, Jafco Ventures and Pinnacle Ventures also participated in the funding.

WongDoody Changes Name

The Culver City ad agency formerly known as WongDoody has changed its name. The shop is now called Wong Doody Crandall Wiener.

The new handle reflects the addition of two new partners, Chief Executive Ben Wiener and Los Angeles Office Manager Court Crandall. Wiener has been with the company 17 years. Crandall, previously a co-founder and partner at ad agency Ground Zero in West Los Angeles, joined last year.

Clients of Wong Doody Crandall Wiener include ESPN, Alaska Airlines and T-Mobile.

Manny, Moe & JMPR

JMPR Public Relations in Woodland Hills is the new agency for auto retailer Pep Boys.

The agency’s main assignment is media relations for the company’s 90th anniversary. JMPR will also work with individual Pep Boys stores to promote their repair business.

JMPR specializes in promoting automotive brands such as Galpin Motors, Ducati North America, Airstream Trailers and Motor Trend Automotive Group.

Staff reporter Joel Russell can be reached at jrussell@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 237.

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