Rizzuti “Dot Coms’ Itself Anew

Virtual Agency Changes Specialty of House to Direct Response
DALLAS-Branching out beyond a high-tech communications niche,
Rizzuti Beckman & Lyman is shelving its name and virtual agency status to bulk up as a direct response specialist.
RB&L president John Rizzuti unveiled plans last week to change the shop’s name to Rizzuti.com and secure office space for an agency previously operated via cellular telephones and e-mail from his home in Carrollton, Texas.
“About six months ago, we took a real hard look at the company,” said Rizzuti, “and felt if we didn’t make some changes, our company was really going to start suffering.”
Rizzuti said he believed the agency could develop new capabilities in online media (such as “rich media,” or encompassing banner ads which do not click through to new Web addresses) and add more consumer accounts.
The new Rizzuti.com wants to develop a specialty in direct response television and radio, particularly in long-format (90-120 second) spots.
The changes resulted in principal Guy Lyman’s shift to senior partner, creative director and head of strategic planning, and the departure of former partner Patrick Beckman. Beckman will continue to freelance for Rizzuti.com while working at his new Dallas agency, Patrick Beckman Advertising.
Jane Donosky has been hired as the agency’s senior account director. She is in charge of an expanded consumer accounts group.
Rizzuti admits the shop is taking an unusual approach in de-emphasizing its high-tech and online communications strengths by changing to the “dot com” address, normally the signature of a Web-only marketing specialist.
“That’s why we’re taking the time to direct people to the Web site where it clearly explains [the agency],” said Rizzuti.
The shop was recently buoyed by $10-15 million in national branding assignments for Jobs.com of Dallas. That allowed it to begin negotiations for its first office lease.
Rizzuti.com is also involved in talks to acquire an undisclosed Internet site development company, allowing the firm to offer quick-turn Web design capabilities. ƒ