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

Riney Teams Up With Information Resources By Scott Hum

CHICAGO – Hal Riney & Partners has formed an alliance with market research giant Information Resources, Inc., that could give the agency a unique, back-door a

Beginning this week, the two companies are pitching a package of advertising, marketing and research services to assess the viability of new products and the remaining equity in mature, but underutilized brands. The two companies figure that by combining their resources, they can simplify and reduce the expense of a product launch.
Riney, which will involve all its offices, will provide a marketing plan and television and print advertising, and IRI will supply in-store testing in its eight BehaviorScan markets and post-test analysis.
IRI, which is leading the sales charge, plans to offer the service to its top clients, which include PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, R.J. Reynolds and Unilever.
For now, though, the pilot client is Nova Group, a Chicago-based venture capital firm that owns rights to Time Warner’s Looney Tunes trademarks for use on frozen foods. A Looney Tunes line of kids meals produced and marketed by Tyson Foods didn’t make it, and that deal has terminated. Nova has engaged IRI/Riney to develop a revitalized product and marketing plan and present the concept to potential manufacturers as well as provide testing and ad services.
Nova is a smaller client than Riney otherwise would be likely to pursue, but Riney/Chicago president Barry Krause, a former Leo Burnett executive, remembers Marlboro’s early days. ‘Burnett’s Philip Morris business started as a chance to restage a woman’s cigarette called Marlboro,’ he said.
Genesis of the alliance was the longtime friendship between Krause and IRI chairman Gian Fulgoni. ‘This project is right for us both and answers some problems in the marketplace,’ Krause said. ‘The biggest problem is the complexity, and then the expense, of the services needed to evaluate new products. We knew that if we could combine our strengths, we can provide some efficiencies that answer that problem.’
Bob McCann, president of IRI’s testing services division and a veteran of Colgate-Palmolive, 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. At the other end are large companies with trademarks they’re doing nothing with. 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.’ ‘
McCann believes these companies would be persuaded to use their services instead of one of their regular roster of agencies because Riney/IRI would not relegate the task to junior people as others would be likely to do and ‘second, because we’ll do it more cost-efficiently,’ he said.
The companies plan to work on a fee scale 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.
Riney has veto power over any potential client that would pose a conflict with any of its accounts.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)