Boyce Exits Black Rocket for Palisades Media

LOS ANGELES Palisades Media Group is opening a San Francisco office in September and has named Robert Boyce senior vice president of client services for the new outpost, the agency said.

The office, which will be located at 1717 Powell St. in San Francisco’s North Beach section, will service Virgin Mobile, AvantGo (which the shop handles through a relationship with Godfrey Q & Partners in San Francisco) and clients of Venables, Bell & Partners and Buder Engel and Friends, which is the former San Francisco office of Leagas Delaney.

Boyce, 32, previously spent six years as media director at Black Rocket Euro RSCG in San Francisco. He reports to Mercedes Tondre, executive vice president of client services at Palisades Media’s Santa Monica, Calif., headquarters. In addition to his account management responsibilities, Boyce will be involved in business development, focusing on the technology sector.

Boyce will work with Paula Mangin, who joined the media planning and buying agency in April 2002 to develop new business in the San Francisco area and continues to serve as senior strategic planner. While the two are currently the only employees of the San Francisco office, Palisades Media president and CEO Roger Schaffner said he hopes to soon add two or three more staffers there, including a media planner.

Schaffner said the decision to open in San Francisco came as he began looking for someone to lead AvantGo and contacted Boyce for recommendations. “He has such a great reputation, we thought he probably wouldn’t want to leave Black Rocket,” said Schaffner. “Once he said yes, it made sense to open an office. He’s got an incredible reputation, he’s an excellent account person, an experienced media planner and he brings a lot of experience to Palisades.”

At Black Rocket, Boyce’s accounts included Yahoo!, for which he conceived an outdoor strategy, created and executed launch campaigns for Yahoo! Personals and Yahoo! Search, and developed and negotiated a cross-platform deal with News Corp. While Black Rocket recently lost the $40 million account to new WPP Group shop Soho Square and is facing an uncertain future, Boyce said his decision to leave Black Rocket was not precipitated by the Yahoo! loss.

“As the media marketplace has evolved, I’ve seen trends from clients going from very big agencies to medium shops,” said Boyce. “I thought the opportunity to join an independent media shop like Palisades was one I couldn’t turn down.”

Boyce said he was drawn to Palisades Media in part because many of its employees have been with shop since it opened in 1996. “The complete lack of turnover is a good sign,” Boyce said, “and it allows us to live up to the philosophy of having more senior people working on a client’s business.” He added: “Paula Mangin has done a lot of legwork and her reputation has really allowed them to grow up here. The last couple of years have not been easy for the Bay Area, but there are signs of life and recovery and Paula is doing just the right thing to take advantage of that growth.”

Palisades Media has more than 50 employees and claims billings of $250 million. Clients serviced through its Santa Monica office include Behr paint, Fox Searchlight, Artisan Entertainment, Lions Gate Films, Paramount Classics, Electronic Arts and Virgin Megastore.