McCann Seattle Set for Overhaul

McCann-Erickson in Seattle has set in motion a major repositioning that will be highlighted by a new name and a focus on brand building for small and midsized clients, sources said.

Beginning next month, the shop will operate under the name Star Machinery Co., sources close to the company confirmed. The agency, which is one of three McCann offices on the West Coast, is eager to carve out an identity separate from its parent company, sources said.

McCann Seattle’s executive vice president, Jim Walker, declined to confirm the changes.

Sources said the new direction will not involve a change in top management or a reduction in the 90-person workforce.

The effort to remake the company will be followed later this year by a move to more spacious offices. The relocation, scheduled for October, will move the shop from the downtown area to a new 35,000-square-foot space in a converted warehouse adjacent to Seattle’s SafeCo Field baseball park.

Though McCann’s parent company, the Interpublic Group, will retain ownership of Star Machinery, the restructuring is expected to allow the agency to project an image of independence. The shop also appears eager to establish itself as a separate entity from McCann’s Los Angeles and San Francisco offices.

The revised operation will continue buying media through the Universal McCann network.

“There is a lot more to it than just a name change,” one source said. “This a chance for the com pany to change its structure and do something different. It’s a grand experiment.”