Below-the-Line Operations to Team Up for Guerrilla Marketing
NEW YORK„With a nod to such nontraditional marketing successes as The Blair Witch Project and Victoria›s Secret, Young & Rubicam is launching a unit called BrandBuzz, devoted to realizing the brand-building power of its below-the-line operations.
The force behind the initiative is Ed Vick, in his first major project since being named chief creative officer and chairman of Y&R Inc. ˜The idea is pretty simple, and I think it›s pretty powerful," he said. ˜You can basically put a model in place and say, ™Here›s how you create a brand phenomenon.›"
The unit aims to raise the profile of Y&R›s diversified offerings, from public relations (Burson-Marsteller, Cohn & Wolfe) to promotions (Wunderman Cato Johnson) and the negotiation of cross-media deals (The Media Edge). Also expected to play a role are Web outfits, including the former Brand Dialogue (now part of Luminant) and the fledgling Y&R 2.1.
The move signals an acknowledgement that clients want more than TV spots, particularly in an age of dwindling ratings. It also resonates with Y&R›s long-standing belief in building brands across disciplines„an approach known internally as The Whole Egg.
BrandBuzz has been in development since Vick›s role was announced in August. At the time, he said he intended to spend another one or two years at Y&R.
The division begins with about 15 staffers from across Y&R disciplines, and will be managed by John Partilla, former senior vice president of global business development for the advertising unit, according to a company Web site. The initial focus will be on existing clients that seek new ways to build brands. The site reports BrandBuzz has ˜already begun working on projects" for Citibank, Colgate and Campbell›s.
The site calls the group a ˜truly integrated team ... dedicated to guerrilla or ™buzz› marketing.›" Other brains behind it included chairman emeritus Ed Ney and The Media Edge›s Bob Igiel and Mitch Burg.
Below-the-line units will retain their separate identities, but be expected to work together more seamlessly. Vick wants to ˜creatively leverage the integration promise" made to global clients, a source said. The delivery, Vick added, ˜has got to be very quick and very flexible."
The unit was announced internally last month in guerrilla style, with ˜Get buzzed" signs hooked on doorknobs throughout the agency. K