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BBDO Shares Space With Pair of Specialty Shops

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Looking for an edge in the battle for new business, BBDO is sharing its Wilshire Boulevard offices with an event-marketing shop and a production company.

The agency, which has 65 staffers in Los Angeles, is renting space to fellow Omnicom shop GMR Marketing and to independent Blueyed Pictures, and is involved in undisclosed pitches with both, said BBDO West president and CEO Tom Hollerbach.

"We wanted to find a better way for people to work together," said Hollerbach. "In this economy, you'd expect people to be much more competitive. This is contrarian, but it is much more symbiotic."

Blueyed and GMR operate auto nomously from BBDO and are free to work with other shops.

Five full-time employees from GMR and six from Blueyed are now on BBDO's floor, along with four people from Omnicom's Spin Promotion Marketing, which focuses on radio and TV promotions. Spin is working with BBDO Atlanta on Cingular and has not yet pitched with BBDO West, Hollerbach said.

While these ties have not yet led to any new business, BBDO West's billings have increased this year from $185 million to $225 million, due to increased spending from existing clients, Hollerbach said. BBDO West works on such companies as MGM, Pioneer Electronics and Visa, with creative handled in San Francisco.

Russ Jones, director of business development for GMR, said the relationship gives his shop "instant credibility." GMR, based in Milwaukee, has worked with BBDO offices across the country on accounts such as Visa, Dodge and Pepsi.

Hollerbach added: "Advertising and marketing can only take a company so far." With GMR, he said, BBDO can include event-marketing elements earlier in the overall marketing plan.

Blueyed is "almost an in-house production company," Hollerbach said. Executive producer Jamee Natella said Blueyed, which also has offices in London and Tokyo, was eager to partner with BBDO as part of a globalization strategy.