IQ News: Adams Recruited to Run CKS SiteSpecific Agency

Jon Adams, a veteran ad agency executive and brand manager, has been tapped to run CKS SiteSpecific, the 2-year-old online marketing agency. Most recently the managing director of True North Communications’ Northern Lights Interactive unit, Adams will be chief operating officer at SiteSpecific, taking over day-to-day duties from chief executive and founder Seth Goldstein.
In turn, Goldstein will take on an “evangelist” role, according to Fergus O’Daly, president of CKS Group’s Eastern region. “I wanted [to work] some place that was ahead of where the Internet was going,” said Adams, who had resigned from True North in May.
At True North, Adams helped take the agency into a leading position in new media, overseeing offices in New York and San Francisco and striking strategic alliances, such as one with production shop R/GA Interactive.
Bringing on Adams, said Goldstein, is “the next step for us. We have the skills, the creative capabilities and the media [expertise] to go up against Modem Media. We didn’t have the packaging and the sophistication to deal with senior clients.”
At various posts with True North and its related agencies, Adams dealt with such clients as Citibank, R.J. Reynolds, and AT&T in both general agency and direct marketing roles. Adams began his career at General Foods, where he was chief marketing officer for the coffee and beverage divisions, which include such brands as Maxwell House and Kool-Aid.
SiteSpecific was acquired by CKS in June, giving it much-needed financial backing to expand. O’Daly said SiteSpecific will become CKS’s lead online advertising agency. “Where a Web-based brand is involved, SiteSpecific always takes the lead,” said O’Daly.
Later this fall the SiteSpecific staff will move into CKS’s New York offices. But the unit will continue to operate separately from its parent. “We’re hanging on to the SiteSpecific name because it’s what the company does,” said O’Daly. Along with producing creative work for its Web clients, SiteSpecific maintains a database to track and improve ad campaign performance across Web sites and networks.
SiteSpecific has worked jointly with CKS on the MCI account in Washington. In turn, CKS has supported SiteSpecific work for client Travelocity in San Francisco. Next year, Goldstein said, the agency will help flagship client Duracell retail its batteries online. “We’re selling this promise online-from cost to profit center,” Goldstein said.
Separately, CKS Group last week reported record revenues of $39.8 million for its 1997 fiscal third quarter, which ended August 31. The results included an $859,000 charge for merger costs related to the SiteSpecific acquisition. CKS’s revenues for the nine months of fiscal 1997 were $100 million, with pro forma net income of $8 million.