Martin Agency Goes West Again

Looks Beyond Serving Schwab From New San Francisco Location
ATLANTA–The Martin Agency is hoping there’s more business in San Francisco than Charles Schwab Co.
The Richmond, Va., agency last week announced it will open a full-service office in the city by the bay in the next six to eight weeks.
Though the announcement comes less than a month after Martin won a $10 million women’s marketing initiative from San Francisco-based stockbroker Schwab, officials said the decision had been under consideration for some time.
“It has not escaped my attention that much of the best TV work in the past 15 years has come from the West Coast,” said Martin creative director Mike Hughes, who was in San Francisco last week scouting both office space and talent. “I want some of that sensibility brought to bear for us and our clients . . .We’re doing this for the work.”
Though the satellite office will open with a staff of seven or eight, Martin chief executive officer John Adams said he thinks “it will grow very fast.
“I’m about as bullish as one can be on this,” Adams said. “We’re in a unique time in this business with all the new [technology clients] and ground zero for that is San Francisco. I’m thinking we’ll have 30 to 40 people on staff by the end of the year.”
Hughes said the Northern California site will ultimately have multiple creative teams, a planning department, account service, new business personnel, an interactive division, and both public relations and direct advertising capabilities. Any media assignments will be handled from Richmond “for now.”
The agency previously tried to establish a West Coast office with Martin Creative L.A., which closed in 1998. Hughes said this time would be different because “the Martin DNA” will be transferred to the new office.
“This is completely different,” Hughes said. “L.A. was supposed to create its own type of agency, not an imitation of The Martin Agency. If mistakes were made, they were mine . . . I know now the best possible thing for us to build is something that has a Martin DNA.”
To accomplish this, the agency plans to split the workforce between transplanted Virginians and “very accomplished account people, planners, writers, art directors, CDs, who are already in the Bay Area and want to talk to us,” Hughes said. “We hear we have a flattering reputation . . . It shocks me there are people who don’t want to move to Richmond, but to them, we offer an alternative.”