West Coast Ad Execs Form a New ‘Virtual’ Agency

Unnamed Venture Will Outsource Most Work; 4 Clients on Board
LOS ANGELES–Three veteran West Coast ad executives have left their respective shops to form what they call a “new type of communications company” that will employ no creatives, traffic, print services, or account or media people.
Two executives from the Playa del Rey, Calif., office of TBWA\Chiat\Day–group account director John McGonigle, who had headed the agency’s Sony PlayStation team, and planning director Ivan Wicksteed–have joined forces with Flora Skivington, planning director at McCann-Erickson/A&L, San Francisco, to create the new “virtual” venture.
Though it has yet to be officially named, the fledgling shop already has four clients on its roster:
Webforia, a Bellevue, Wash.-based business-to-business vertical portal, whose ad account had been at TBWA\C\D; Productopia, a San Francisco-based product-review Web site; SheNetworks.com, a site targeting the interests of women in their 20s; and Project 1918, an online business site currently in development.
The agency has also begun compiling a network of outside creative resources that not only includes copywriters and art directors, but also features sculptors and musicians, among others.
Although the agency has no formal affiliation with a media shop, it is currently working with TBS Media on the Productopia business.
“We had some very good people working with us [at TBWA\C\D], and it only made sense to go with the people working on our business,” said Craig Rexroad, Web-foria’s vice president of marketing. “[The new shop] is going to do a tremendous amount of work on corporate branding for us. That’s why we’re more concerned with thought process than having a lot of people on [an agency’s] staff.”
“This is a more efficient way of giving clients what they want, which is top-level strategic thinking,” said Wicksteed.
“The concept is to create a structure that gives clients access without any of a traditional agency’s overhead,” Wicksteed added. K