FRS Taps Cutwater for Energy Drink Launch

LOS ANGELES FRS has named Omnicom Group’s Cutwater as the first agency for its energy drink following a review, according to Brad Harrington, Cutwater president.

Harrington said the agency wouldn’t normally “get involved in a startup business [as such companies] are typically dysfunctional,” but was persuaded to participate based on the strength of the firm’s board. That group includes ex-Coca-Cola global marketing director Pete Sealey; cycling legend Lance Armstrong; Oak Investments venture capital exec Fred Harman; and Richard Rosenblatt, ex-CEO of Intermix, which owned Myspace.com and orchestrated its sale to News Corp.

“The depth and expertise in ground-breaking, high-impact creative campaigns for image-driven brands makes Cutwater a perfect fit for FRS to help us further educate and motivate people to seek healthier ways to boost their energy,” said Maigread Eichten, client CEO and president, in a statement.

San Francisco-based Cutwater gets an equity stake, which aligns with Harrington’s goal of changing traditional agency compensation models. “When sales are in their infancy, we will prosper along with their sales,” he said. “We’ve built a performance model into our fee. But the beauty of it all, with guys like Fred Harman involved, is that we’ll have money to work with and a direct connection to the CEO, which is what you’d want with all clients if you could get it.”

Harrington said Armstrong is a “product user, spokesperson and part owner” of the drink, which was developed for recovering cancer patients and adopted by athletes for its anti-oxidant properties. (FRS stands for Free Radical Scavenger.)

Cutwater is working on everything from product packaging to point-of-sale presentations as well as a new Web site. No TV push is planned at this time. The first campaign is expected to break in February 2008. Spending was not disclosed.

Creatives expected to work on the business under ecd and co-founder Chuck McBride include creative director Fabio Costa, copywriter Eric Boyd and art director William Esparza.

Cutwater launched this spring, and quickly beat out several other Omnicom shops to add creative chores on DaimlerChrysler’s Jeep.