TM Forms Link and Along Comes Spyder

DALLAS TM Advertising is exploring advertising frontiers with a new creative unit called Link and a client named Spyder that shuns conventional marketing of its skiwear.

Known for the “Spider-Man” outfits of the U.S., Canadian and other Winter Olympic ski teams, Boulder, Colo.-based Spyder is calling on TM’s Link to help launch a new line of all-season, all-sport clothing called Xscape and to promote another collection built around the Team Venom brand.

Link is developing a pair of TV spots expected to break in mid-October on cable channels ESPN and Outdoor Life Network. Print ads will appear in outdoor sports magazines.

Spyder general manager John Walbrecht said he chose TM because Link is headed by co-creative director Todd Tilford and other associates he had worked with in the past. Tilford developed ads for Spyder when he led a somewhat similar unit of The Richards Group called Pyro.

Link strategic director Melissa Nelson worked with Spyder when she was at the Dallas agency Tractorbeam, as did Link co-creative director Bill Marceau. Designer Sarah Brunjes is the fourth member of Link.

With annual sales of about $100 million and an ad budget of approximately $1 million, Spyder is the ideal client for launching the Link concept, Tilford said.

“I think TM realizes that the marketing landscape is changing,” he said. “People are bored, people are inundated, and it’s crowded out there.”

Nelson said she and Marceau decided to jump to Link so that they could enjoy the creative freedom of a start-up agency without worrying about financial support.

“We get to find the right kind of clients instead of beating the pavement and trying to pay the bills,” she said.

Walbrecht said his company would not work with a large agency unless it had a team dedicated to unconventional ideas and close client relationships.

“Because you’re dealing with the principals of the agency, there is no fear that I wake up one morning and learn that the account manager isn’t there anymore or that they don’t understand our buying strategy,” Walbrecht said. “They eat, drink and sleep it the same way an in-house agency would.”