MediaSmith Opens in N.Y. to Chase Bigger Fish

Looking to bring its expertise eastward, veteran West Coast media executive David Smith has opened a New York office of his San Francisco agency, Mediasmith.
The Gotham outpost of the interactive media shop will be led by Mike Drexler, 61, former head of FCB Worldwide’s media operations.
Smith, the agency’s president and media director, said the move is designed to expand the shop’s prospect pool beyond the dot-com-heavy San Francisco client base to include the big national advertisers headquartered in the New York area.
“The e-commerce companies and the Web media are important and will always be important to us,” Smith said, but added, “When we started investigating New York, there didn’t appear to be anyone there who does what we do.”
“If you really want to expand and become an integrated company that can work on a broader scale with large companies, you’ve got to be in New York,” added Drexler.
Mediasmith was formed in 1978 initially as a media agency focusing on planning, but it was relaunched in 1989. The shop then began specializing in Web-based media six years later.
The shop’s evolution reflected Smith’s background in software systems. At the former Benton & Bowles, for example, he assisted in the development of the Donavan media buying software that is now ubiquitous within the industry.
Mediasmith claimed billings of $50 million in 1999, but Smith said that figure would double by the end of this year.
The agency’s major clients include CBS MarketWatch, Snapfish, LiveCapital.com, Respond.com, WebMiles.com and Baby Center.
–with Kathleen Sampe