L.A. Agency Amoeba Debuts

Len Fink, the veteran ad creative who brought entertainment and advertising together a decade ago as one of the architects behind Creative Artists Agency’s ad campaigns for Coca-Cola, has launched a new agency called Amoeba. The shop’s first client is Z.com, an entertainment Web site.

TBWA\Chiat\Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., will handle media planning and buying for the site, which is expected to spend at least $10 million when it debuts its first consumer campaign in early 2001.

Like the shape-changing protoplasm from which it takes its name, Amoeba is designed to be fluid in nature, explained the multidimensional Fink, who also has a background in mathematics and physics.

“When I’ve tried to describe to people the alternate way I like to work, it takes a half-hour,” he said. “[The shop’s name] obviates a half-hour of abstraction. I want to keep [the shop] as simple as possible and adaptable. It will not function as an ad agency necessarily. It will take whatever form it needs to be successful.”

Amoeba will help develop content for Z.com and seek out sponsorships from advertisers as well as develop ad campaigns. The site, launched on Memorial Day weekend, features a variety of entertainment, including comedy from David Spade and Ellen DeGeneres, modeling advice from Tyra Banks and interactive programming like Dare for Dollars.

“We are attempting to be one of the ones to crack the code of what entertainment over the Internet is going to be,” said Hilary Meserole, chief marketing officer. “We are experimenting with a range of different types of programming. … We’re trying to create a new form of entertainment that takes advantage of the interactivity and community nature of the medium.”

Meserole, who came to Z.com earlier this year from The Disney Co., where she was svp of corporate brand management, worked with Fink when both were at J. Walter Thompson in New York. Amoeba was tapped after a review of undisclosed shops, said Meserole.

“We don’t have to pay for a big agency’s overhead, and yet we have one of the best creatives. Len is in many respects part of our core team,” she added.

Fink’s experience spans more than a quarter century. He was a creative director at TBWAChiat\Day and N.W. Ayer, worked on the Ad Council Drunk Driving campaign and was elected to the Clio Hall of Fame.