CHICAGO–Hal Riney & Partners and market research giant Information Resources Inc. have formed an alliance that could give the advertising agency a unique, ba" data-categories = "" data-popup = "" data-ads = "Yes" data-company = "[]" data-outstream = "yes" >

Hal Riney and IRI form unique partnership By Scott Hum

CHICAGO–Hal Riney & Partners and market research giant Information Resources Inc. have formed an alliance that could give the advertising agency a unique, ba

Beginning today, the two companies are offering a package of advertising, marketing and research services to both small, entrepreneurial companies and to multinational package goods companies. The package is designed to judge the marketplace viability of new products and the remaining equity in mature but underutilized brands. Riney (all offices) will be providing a marketing plan along with television and print advertising. IRI will be supplying in-store testing in its eight BehaviorScan markets as well as post-test analysis.
It’s an admitted gamble, but the possible payoff would be national rollouts of new clients for both Riney and IRI.
It’s an unusual way for an agency to generate accounts, Riney/Chicago president Barry Krause concedes, but “the rules need to be broken. How can we compete with Leo Burnett if we’re playing the same way everyone else is?”
The pilot client is Nova Group, a Chicagobased venture capital group that owns rights to Time Warner’s Looney Tunes trademarks, but only for frozen foods. A Looney Tunes line of kids meals produced and marketed by Tyson Foods didn’t make it, and that deal has terminated.
Now Nova wants a second chance with the kids foods idea, and the IRI/Riney team will provide it. It will develop a revitalized product and marketing plan. It will present the concept to potential manufacturers, do in-market testing backed by Riney-created advertising to determine sales-volume potential. Ultimately the team will give Nova an optimal marketing plan for expansion of the line.
But Riney may get a chance to work with some huge marketers as well. IRI, which is leading the sales charge in the field, will first offer the service to its top clients, which include the likes of ConAgra, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, R JR Nabisco and Unilever.
Bob McCann, president of IRI’s Testing Services Division and a veteran of Colgate-Palmolive and other marketers, said the project is designed to find clients at both ends of the revenue spectrum. “On the one hand you have small, regional manufacturers without the resources to bring in a major advertising agency or research company, who have new ideas but not the means to launch them. We’ll talk to them.
“At the other end are large companies with trademarks that they’re doing nothing with. These are brands like Ipana toothpaste. Wildroot hair oil. Castille soap. We’re telling the Unilevers and Procter & Gambles, “We’ve got a means for you to leverage those brands,” he said.
The companies wouldn’t specify price other than to say fees will be scaled, dependent on the length of in-market testing required. Krause said Riney hopes to get reduced rates from production houses and other suppliers in exchange for the promise of steady work with the IRI venture. Those savings will help keep down the total fee, he said, but even if a product proves a market-test bust, neither partner would lose money.
McCann said there is no formal exclusivity arrangement between the two partners-so conceivably a like deal could be struck with other agencies. He did say that he expects “the Riney brand will be very important” as a mark of quality to offer to potential clients.
Riney has veto power over any potential client that would pose a conflict with any of its advertising clients, but both partners are confident that the venture will generate more interested clients than they can handle.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)