M/W’s Retail Unit Fame Is ‘Branded’ For Greater Reach

Martin/Williams has spun off its Fame retail branding unit, which will attempt to build a national presence from its Minneapolis base.

The unit will become an independent brand within Omnicom’s Diversified Agency Services division. It will strive to be “the first complete retail brand agency in the country,” said CEO Tina Wilcox.

“We felt our independence was important to move this concept forward and focus on retail,” she said. “Omnicom felt we could take this concept to a national level.”

Fame began as a division of Martin/Williams in 1990 to help cli ents with “retail image management,” said Steve Collins, M/W president.

“We thought this was an entity that has some power behind it,” Collins noted. “By [spinning it off] the other Omnicom agen cies might use it more readily than if they had to approach it through us.”

While other agencies specialize in retail advertising, Fame is looking to become a one-stop shop for retailers and manufacturers that rely heavily on retail channels. Fame plans to extend beyond traditional advertising into product testing, store layout and merchandise strategy, Wilcox said.

Fame will also run a retail concept store that will double as a research facility for clients. The store will be accessible to shoppers from Minneapolis’ well-trafficked second-story walkway, which connects several downtown buildings. The shop will test point-of-sale strategies in a more natural environment, Wilcox said.

Fame is expected to maintain its current client crop, including Target and General Mills. The agency recently launched a campaign for Wilson’s Venus Collection (endorsed by Venus Williams) and helped Target develop its SuperTarget and Archer Farms concepts.