Grey Plans For The Future

Ogilvy’s Schweitzer Tapped To Start New Unit
NEW YORK–After years of doing business without an account planning function, Grey Advertising has decided to incorporate the discipline, hiring Gerry Schweitzer as senior vice president, director of account planning.
“Over the last three years or so, it’s become obvious to us that planning has really grown up,” said Bob Berenson, president of Grey in New York.
Schweitzer, 46, will create a separate unit that will work closely with Barbara Feigin’s strategic services department, the traditional research arm of the agency. He began in his new post at the end of September, reporting to Berenson.
A former senior partner, director of strategic planning, at Ogilvy & Mather here, Schweitzer is aiming to hire a staff of 8-10 planners by the end of 2000.
“Barbara’s role is to be accountable for the data, to be more removed from the work and unencumbered by subjectivity,” he said. “My role is all about subjectivity. The account planner is accountable for the creative.”
Like some other large agencies, Grey had been wary of making account planning into a dedicated function.
“A lot of big agencies have tried to use account planning as a new business ploy instead of actually incorporating it into the strategic and creative culture of the agency,” said Berenson. “It’s not an easy thing to do.”
Some beg to differ: “It seems to me like they’re trying to play catch-up,” said a source.
Schweitzer will now deal closely with Procter & Gamble, for which Grey handles brands such as Pantene and Pringles. That’s familiar territory for Schweitzer, who did an earlier stint as a planner at the former Lintas on a wide range of rival Unilever brands. He most recently worked on the Pond’s account at Oglivy.