Davidson Is Now Communicator




Marketing Services Unit Set Up Under New Owner Lighthouse
CHICAGO–Davidson Marketing has been renamed Communicator, the marketing specialist division of Lighthouse Global Networks.
The Chicago-based marketing services firm, founded by Bill Davidson in 1979, was acquired last year by Lighthouse Holdings. The holding company, also in Chicago, has acquired 14 companies since October 1998. Two other Chicago shops, e-marketer Wang Idea Works and event management company Avid, will be grouped with Communicator.
Jay Farrell, who had been majority owner of Davidson, was named president and chairman of Communicator. More than 200 staffers in seven North American cities and London will report to the parent company through him.
Communicator will work alongside other partners in the Lighthouse global network that have expertise in areas including brand development, package design, sports marketing and digital design to develop a media-neutral approach to brand building, Farrell said.
“Our job is to show the marketplace how their brands behave,” he said. “We have to communicate with the consumer in so many ways now.”
Communicator’s 48 clients include companies that had been with Davidson, such as Kraft, Microsoft, Jim Beam and Polaroid.
“The overall mission is to be able to improve a client’s business from concept through to the consumer,” said Marty Brennan, vice president of business development, who joined Davidson in 1999.
Being part of the network facilitates taking a fully integrated approach, Farrell said.
“The last thing we’d want to be considered is a one-stop shop. We’re not a convenience store, we’re a best-stop shop,” Farrell said.
The network prides itself on the diversity of its offerings and the lack of duplication among its members, Brennan said.
“We’re trying to integrate our partners when it’s the right thing to do for our clients,” he said.
Communicator has no mainline advertising office in its network and plans to rely on existing alliances with its clients’ agencies.
“We see ourselves as enhancing what a company’s ad agency can do, not competing with it,” Farrell said.
Along with the marketing strategy division, formerly Davidson, Communicator has created interactive marketing, sports and entertainment, merchandise and incentive travel components. K