VB&P Uses Mekanism for Digital

Up-and-coming agency Venables, Bell & Partners has entered a working partnership with digital production studio Mekanism. Sources said the two have combined on a successful pitch to relaunch online music service Napster.

The San Francisco shops first collaborated on UltimateTV, which VB&P won last June. It went so well that they decided to chase Napster together.

“We’re going to pitch business with them as appropriate,” agency partner Paul Venables said. “We like to have them in from the get-go, figuring out how digital work can play a role.”

Details of the Napster win were not immediately available. Sources said contracts were being finalized.

The campaign for UltimateTV, VB&P’s flagship client, launched in November and will air through February. VB&P creatives wrote the scripts, and Mekanism worked with the agency’s media team to translate the work into interactive storyboards so it would work seamlessly online.

“VB&P gets us involved early in the process,” Mekanism executive producer Tommy Means said. “We figure out how to integrate one storyline across television, the Internet, plus any other emerging media, and finally, produce the work.”

Agency partner Greg Bell said the relationship shows just how much agency culture has changed since the dot-com collapse.

“The Internet is still a force to be reckoned with,” he said. “But before, the whole online world was handled by a digital group in an agency. We realized that the task with UltimateTV was to overhaul the whole brand, so we needed Mekanism to help come up with a cohesive strategy.”

The relationship was so close that Mekanism staffers were “camped out” at VB&P while they prepared pitches. “We’re working side by side now,” Venables said.

Venables and Bell left Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, last May. They quickly won the $50 million UltimateTV account from Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco.

Mekanism is the online production unit of Complete Pandemonium, a feature film and commercial production company founded in 2000.