IQ News: MacManus Group to Merge D’Arcy Unit into Blue Marble

By Laura Rich

Another agency holding group is shifting its new media strategy. The MacManus Group, which picked up new media agency Blue Marble Advanced Communications Group in its acquisition of N.W. Ayer last year, will combine the new media shop’s forces with DMB&B Interactive, the interactive unit of MacManus agency D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.

For now, the shift only affects the New York office, although a similar arrangement is being considered on a global basis.

The first sign of the change came on Friday, May 29, when the dozen or so staffers of DMB&B Interactive, which was made up primarily of freelancers, were informed that Blue Marble would be ‘responsible for interactive capabilities of the agency,’ said one source at the agency. The changeover is expected to take place once projects for DMB&B client Procter & Gamble are completed.

Some staffers were offered positions at Blue Marble. DMB&B officials denied any change in the status of DMB&B’s in-house unit.

‘We’ve already got a fairly large investment in new media, and we’re looking to add to that and take it further,’ said John Farrell, president of DMB&B, North America.

As part of the holding company’s restructuring of its new media units, the MacManus board of directors appointed Farrell head of a new task force that will determine a global new media strategy for DMB&B, Blue Marble, and other MacManus companies worldwide. Carol Schuster, managing director of DMB&B, New York and David Yakir, Blue Marble president, will direct the collaborative effort in New York.

‘We’ve been extremely successful in building interactive business,’ said Farrell. ‘We want to see how we can make the most of this going forward.’

The details have yet to be worked out, but it’s likely that Blue Marble’s role within MacManus will increase. To date, Blue Marble has worked with DMB&B on Procter & Gamble initiatives, including sites for Pampers and Sunny Delight, and on DMB&B client U S West.

Although DMB&B bought high-profile new media shop Einstein & Sandom Inc. in 1994, it is perhaps best known in the interactive world through research director Denman Maroney, who is active in the Coalition for Advertising Supported Information and Entertainment and other ad-related new media industry groups.

–with Michael McCarthy

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