Sources said the Hollywood talent agency has hooked up with several major Madison Avenue shops and is in continuous talks on projects that go far beyond signing talent for television commercials.
Wells Rich Greene BDDP chairman/ceo Ken Olshan was among the executives in the agency community who met on an exploratory basis with WMA executives.
"It was a very interesting meeting," said Olshan of the talks, which took place roughly six weeks ago. "It wasn't about commercials. It was here's what we do and here's what our resources are."
Olshan said that there were no future meetings scheduled between the two firms at this point, but that WRG was interested in exploring such alliances.
"The idea is to develop new areas of revenue for both," said one source in ongoing talks with William Morris Agency representatives. Describing the informal partnerships as "exploratory projects," the source said some of the talks focus on trying to work together to take advantage of a changing media lanscape, such as the inevitable launch of 500-channel cable TV systems.
"One idea is to see what kinds of TV programming we could work together on," said the source. "It would be along the lines of developing TV properties for clients."
Under that scenario the William Morris Agency would "package" a television or movie concept with its existing talent pool while the advertising agency brought a particular client into the fold.
The talks are still in the conceptual stages and it is not known whether any projects will come to fruition.
However, advertising agencies appear to be receptive to WMA's overtures probably because its modus operandi is to go directly to the shops rather than their clients, which agencies prefer rather than the tactics of Creative Artists Agency, which courted Coca-Cola directly.
Also, WMA is talking about working with agencies bringing in new revenue, not competing with them and siphoning business.
International Creative Management took the same route as WMA, approaching advertising agencies earlier this year to explore partnerships.
In addition to WRG, other agencies that are believed to have been contacted by either WMA or ICM include BBDO, Bozell, DMB&B, DDB Needham, Chiat/Day and Saatchi & Saatchi (ADWEEK, April 5).
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)