Sharp Is Colby’s Entree to New York

LOS ANGELES Colby & Partners is preparing to open a New York office in June to service new client Sharp Electronics Corp., the agency confirmed.

The Dentsu shop, which is based in Santa Monica, Calif., assumes product-centric creative and media responsibilities for the Mahwah, N.J.-based client on May 1. The account was previously handled by Oasis in New York, which is also owned by Dentsu. According to Colby president and executive creative director Rick Colby, Dentsu executives approached him about taking on the business.

“They said we basically could take on Sharp, but the catch was that we had to have a full service office in New York,” said Colby, adding that the shop had already been contemplating a presence there. “Sharp is going through a substantial increase in their budget. They want to achieve a lot and we’re part of that plan.”

Billings for the account are approximately $40 million, the agency said. The client spent $29 million on ads in 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

“We have aggressive plans for our one-of-a-kind products this year such as Aquos LCD televisions, copiers with security technology, and solar cells,” said Andrew Kritzer, senior director of strategic marketing communications at Sharp. “We chose Colby for their ability to grow with us.”

Colby is preparing to sign a lease for office space on Broadway in SoHo and plans to have 20 employees in New York when the location opens, said Colby. Approximately 10-12 of those employees are coming from Oasis. The others will be new hires, including media director David Heller, formerly vice president and media director at TMPG Media Innovation in White Plains, N.Y., said Colby. It has not yet been determined who will lead the new office.

The primary focus now is finding an account director to lead the Sharp business, said Colby. Depending on experience, that person could oversee the new office. Otherwise, Colby said he would supervise New York for the time being. Santa Monica employees such as David Brown, senior vice president and director of digital and direct marketing; Kim Haskell, evp of business development; and Joan Goldfeder, evp and strategic planning director, will also help support New York.