3 in West Join O&M’s ‘Syndicate’

Three West Coast agencies are among the seven small shops that will get to work on big, global brands as part of Ogilvy & Mather North America’s new secondary network, The Syndicate.
Grant, Scott & Hurley, San Francisco, VitroRobertson, San Diego, and WongDoody, Seattle and Santa Monica, Calif., are among the shops participating in the resource-sharing arrangement. The others are Core, St. Louis, Hunt Adkins, Minneapolis, Pyro, Dallas, and Work, Richmond, Va.
The arrangement, spearheaded by O&M N.A. president Tro Piliguian and chief creative officer Rick Boyko, gives O&M access to other sources of creativity for its multinational client base, while the smaller shops–with billings in the $25-40 million range–get to work on such accounts as IBM, American Express and Ford.
There is no equity exchange, and the agencies will be compensated on a “pay-as-you-go” fee basis. Although the shops are not restricted from taking other freelance jobs, there will be an underlying understanding of exclusivity with O&M when it comes to working with other large agencies.
“It seems like a win-win proposition,” said Ben Wiener, managing partner of WongDoody. “We’re not tied to them in any formal way. They can come to us for work, and we can go to them for resources.”
WongDoody has worked with large agencies in the past, but had to remain anonymous. Under The Syndicate arrangement, the shop can take credit for its work. “We’re not creative elves toiling away in a back room,” said Wiener. “We can meet the clients, [and] they’ll know it’s our work.”
“We’ve raised the level of the creative product to a high level throughout the O&M network, which allows us to do The Syndicate from a position of strength,” said Piliguian.
The partnering shops will also have access to O&M’s media and below-the-line capabilities that are vital to compete in today’s marketplace.