Cohn Godley Wins Hotelier

Hub Shop Also Purchases Year-Old Interactive Firm
BOSTON–Cohn Godley Norwood last week grabbed creative chores for a group of luxury hotels and beefed up its interactive capabilities with the buyout of a small company.
The $35 million Boston shop was assigned creative duties for The Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Luxury Collection, a group of more than 50 hotels and resorts located in 20 countries. Properties include the St. Regis in New York; the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz.; the Palace in Madrid, Spain; and the Hotel Danieli in Venice, Italy.
The client spent $75 million on advertising for all of its divisions in the first six months of 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Creative duties had been handled by New York-based Ogilvy & Mather, which will continue to handle media chores for Starwood.
Cohn Godley was given the creative assignment without a review. The shop has worked for Starwood on a project basis for more than a year, an assignment the agency received because of prior work for ITT Sheraton Hotels, bought by Starwood last fall.
“I have been impressed by [Cohn Godley’s] thinking and creative product,” said Doug McKenzie, brand manager at the Rye, N.Y.-based client. “It simply made good sense to expand the nature of our relationship.”
The agency in March will break a consumer and trade print campaign, along with direct mail and Web marketing programs, according to Jim Bacharach, Cohn Godley’s senior vice president of client services. Advertising will target the top 10 percent of households based on income, he added.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” Bacharach said. “The challenge is while there are very loyal customers within the Starwood brand, they’re not necessarily aware of other hotels in the collection.”
Bacharach is heading up the account, along with the team of Paul Norwood, creative director and art director; copywriter Mike Connell; and account supervisor Alicia Federico.
The win caps an impressive year for Cohn Godley, which has seen its revenues increase by nearly a third after landing assignments from Chevy Chase Bank, Salomon Smith Barney, ServicEdge, Deckers Outdoor and Pro Player.
Separately, Cohn Godley has purchased Interacumen, a year-old Internet branding and measurement company in Boston, for an undisclosed sum. Eric Wanta, Interacumen’s founder, will become a senior vice president at Cohn Godley.
Interacumen makes proprietary analytical tools that assess the effect of Web sites on brand images and business objectives, said agency president Ben Godley.
Traditional analyses of user log files only tell part of the story, Wanta said. Interacumen’s tools can help a firm by breaking down how customers interact with a site’s content and decipher what messages or themes are spurring specific behavior. This service would be useful to companies contemplating changing their Web site, he explained.
“The addition of Interacumen’s suite of products really strengthens Cohn Godley ability [and] results in sites that bring measurable results to the clients,” Godley said. “Eric brings a wonderful set of skills and talent, and that’s part of the reason we bought the company.”
Interactive assignments make up 40 percent of the agency’s billings, Godley said. “We’re always looking to develop innovative products and services, and with clients making ever-increasing investments in the Web, it just makes sense.”
Part of the deal was that Cohn Godley will make an investment in future products that Wanta develops, Godley said.
Before starting Interacumen, Wanta spent three years as a brand consultant at Lippincott & Margulies in New York. Prior to that, he was a consultant with Mercer Management in Lexington, Mass.
“This opportunity came along because of mutual interest and a great fit between what we were doing and Ben’s vision for the agency,” Wanta said. “They don’t think of themselves as a traditional ad agency, and that’s what I like.”