Atmosphere Creates Mobile Unit

NEW YORK Atmosphere BBDO is creating a mobile marketing service, making the Omnicom agency the latest interactive shop to branch into wireless.

To head its mobile practice, Atmosphere recruited David Bear from Ipsh!, a wireless specialty agency Omnicom acquired in October 2005. As executive director of mobile, Bear will work with Atmosphere agency teams and clients to develop mobile campaign extensions.

Atmosphere follows in the footsteps of independent AKQA and Interpublic Group’s R/GA, which last year both set up mobile units.

Mobile marketing is still at its earliest stages, particularly in the U.S. market, yet it is expected to grow rapidly. ABI Research anticipates $3 billion will be spent on mobile ads this year, rising to $19 billion in 2011.

“We think it’s going to scale up,” said Andreas Combuechen, CEO and chief creative officer at Atmosphere. “We think this is going to be an interesting time to enter this marketplace.”

Bear, 38, was vice president of business development at Ipsh!, which creates text messaging and other mobile campaigns for clients like Elizabeth Arden, British Airways and Disney. In addition to creating mobile campaigns, Ipsh! opened a media arm in June to plan and buy media on cell phones, mobile television and wireless games. Ipsh! serves as the mobile resource for Omnicom shops like BBDO, OMD, PHD and Tribal DDB.

While agencies gear up their capabilities, technology companies are doing the same. Earlier this month, Microsoft bought ScreenTonic, a Paris-based mobile ad network, and yesterday AOL closed a deal for Third Screen Media, a leader in placing cellular ads in the U.S. market. Yahoo! has also begun a search and display ad network.