Bronnercom Adds Purchase Pro




Hub Shop Eyes First Acquisitions, Unveils Neiman Marcus Site
BOSTON–Bronnercom’s addition of acquisitions specialist Marschall Smith and its launch of a sophisticated e-commerce site for Neiman Marcus are the latest benchmarks in the company’s quest to establish itself as a global marketing powerhouse, agency executives said.
Smith has joined as general counsel and senior vice president of business development, both new positions at the Boston-based shop.
Initially, Bronnercom, with worldwide billings and fees approaching $1.5 billion, had sought both a chief counsel and a development specialist to help it pursue acquisitions in the U.S. and abroad, but Smith’s background made him a perfect fit for both jobs, said agency chief executive David Kenny.
Bronnercom executives have said purchases in database or technology marketing would be considered, but so far they’ve dismissed the notion of buying a mainstream ad agency. It has never made an acquisition.
Smith, who joined Bronnercom last week, said he has yet to target specific niches or companies for acquisitions or partnerships. Any move will likely be in “areas where we’ve been working already,” and support the shop’s existing operations, he said.
Smith had most recently been general counsel at IMC Global in Chicago, a publicly traded mining and chemical conglomerate. While there, he helped engineer IMC’s buyouts of Harris Chemical for more than $1 billion and Vigiro Corp. for $850 million. Earlier, he had attained the rank of major in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Smith began his career in the mid-1970s with New York law firm Debevoise & Plimpton, where his duties included approving ad copy for client Scali, McCabe, Sloves. Smith recalled those times as “happy days” and said he looked forward to working with an agency again and helping Bronnercom turn itself into “the great marketing company of the 21st century.”
Reaching that goal will require the ability to help clients communicate to consumers across myriad channels, a goal Bronnercom’s Strategic Interactive Group believes it has achieved with Neiman Marcus’ revamped Web site (www.neimanmarcus.com), which launched last week. The site uses cutting-edge interactive and visual technology in an effort to give users the same level of “personalized service” they’d get at the clothier’s stores.
In addition to developing the site, SIG, sister BSH direct marketing unit and the client’s in-house ad team have fashioned a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign to support the site, said Kathy Biro, vice chairman of Bronnercom and co-founder of SIG.