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Infogrames Considers a Change of Scenery

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Videogame maker Infogrames has begun contacting New England agencies as it prepares to shift its account from the West, sources said.

The business has been handled by DDB in Los Angeles for a year. While sources peg billings at $20 million, the New York company spent $12 million last year, according to CMR.

The shop has handled creative and media duties, as well as sales promotions, events, direct and online marketing, through Tribal DDB in L.A. Its work has focused mainly on promoting Infogrames' specific titles.

Sources said the agency search is a result of Infogrames' shifting its marketing operation from Santa Mon ica, Calif., to Beverly, Mass. Confirming the reorganization, client representative Nancy Bushkin said John Hurlbut, senior vp in Beverly, is now the company's head of U.S. marketing.

Infogrames continues to have marketing teams in its various studios, said Bush kin. Former cli ent vp of marketing Sarah Buxton, who hired DDB, has moved to vp of marketing for Infogrames' Atari line. Steve Allison, who had handled product development, now leads marketing for the Santa Monica studio.

Bushkin declined further comment on the review, as did DDB president Rick Carpenter. It remains unclear if the client has issued an RFP.

Infogrames, which publishes inter active entertainment software geared for an audience ranging from hard-core gamers to preteens, has more than 1,000 titles, including Driver and versions of the TV show Survivor.

DDB won the account last March, edging out Arnold in San Francisco; Attik in New York; BBDO West in Los Angeles; and Rubin Postaer and Associates in Santa Monica.

That review was spurred by a consolidation of ad accounts brought on by Infogrames' acquisitions of category mates such as Hasbro Interactive and Games.com.

In February, Infogrames reported record results for the first six months of fiscal year 2002 , with revenues climbing 48 percent, to nearly $248 million, over the same period last year.