Two U.K. Execs Form If

NEW YORK A former head of Interpublic Group’s Momentum Group and an ex-board director of TBWA\BDH in the U.K. are starting the If agency, which opens its doors next week.

Brian Rees, 47, and Christian James, 37, chairman and managing director, respectively, of the seven-person agency in Manchester, U.K., will take a media-neutral approach to try to solve client’s marketing problems.

Rees has a focus in sales promotion and direct marketing. He founded PDP in Manchester in 1984, which eventually became IPG’s Momentum, with clients including Interbrew and Nestle. Rees became CEO of Momentum in 1999, and left four years later to become a consultant.

James comes from a traditional advertising background, and was previously director of TBWA’s BDH in Manchester. He also has worked at JWT and McCann Erickson in the U.K. with clients including 3M and Wickes.

The agency said it would offer various above- and below-the-line services to clients.

“Many advertising agencies start with the 30-second commercial,” Rees said. “Our belief is in something greater or more fundamental. [A marketing solution] could be pricing, it could be promotional or a sponsorship link. We give the same regard to those things as a great brand advert.”

The shop opens with three clients: the Littlewoods (U.K.) Shop Direct Group, U.K. car rental company Britannia and the European launch of an undisclosed U.S. beverage brand.