Ogilvy Forms Creative ‘Syndicate’

Work in Richmond, Va., and Dallas’ Pyro Are Among U.S. Partners
NEW YORK–Ogilvy & Mather North America has created The Syndicate, a secondary network consisting of partnerships with seven small shops across the U.S.–including Work in Richmond, Va., and Pyro, a freestanding affiliate of The Richards Group in Dallas.
The arrangement, which has been spearheaded by Ogilvy N.A. president Tro Piliguian and chief creative officer Rick Boyko, allows Ogilvy to provide expanded creative firepower for its multinational client base while it gives the smaller shops, which have billings in the $25-40 million range, the opportunity to work on big, global brands such as IBM, American Express and Ford.
According to John Beitter, a principal at Pyro, the setup will not conflict with the shop’s Richards affiliation since Pyro has been working on its own accounts since being formed in 1995. Pyro’s clients include Doc Martens, Hummer and the TV Guide/Prevue channel.
“We function and promote ourselves as a separate agency,” said Beitter. “Nothing’s going to change.”
For Work principal Cabell Harris, the O&M ties will allow growth without necessitating ancillary services. “My focus is to grow creatively and strategically, and not have to grow it with different departments,” said Harris. “One thing I’ve noticed with great creative agencies [which] did great work and lost their talent was . . . they lost their focus and were trying to do too many things.”
Other participating shops are Core in St. Louis, Grant, Scott & Hurley in San Francisco, Hunt Adkins in Minneapolis, VitroRoberston in San Diego and WongDoody in Seattle. Ogilvy already has existing freelance relationships with some of these agencies.
The partnering shops will have access to Ogilvy & Mather’s media and below-the-line capabilities. Eric Tilford, a partner at Core, said, “This type of setup will bring the next big, dramatic change in the creative world.”
There is no equity exchange involved, and the agencies will be compensated on a “pay as you go” fee basis. Although the shops will not be restricted from exploring other freelance opportunities, there will be an underlying understanding of exclusivity with Ogilvy for such jobs.
–with Glen Fest and T.W. Siebert