Taxi Enters Content Business

NEW YORK Taxi is getting into the content business. Again.

The Canadian agency named Daniel Rabinowicz, former president of Taxi Montreal, president of a new two-person unit to be known as Taxi Content. Rabinowicz will be based in Montreal and report to Paul Lavoie, chairman and chief creative officer.

“We decided to create a unit and investment that is just focused on bringing the perspective of content to mobile, gaming, television and online. The reason why we chose Daniel is that I have had a relationship with Daniel that goes back to when I had hair.”

The famously hairless Lavoie and Rabinowicz worked together when both were at Cossette Communications in the late 1980s. In addition to being the former president of Taxi Montreal, Rabinowicz, along with Jane Hope and Lavoie, was one of the co-founders of Taxi New York in 2004.

Taxi already has a unit, Chokolat, dedicated to television and branded entertainment, which has worked with brands such as Nike, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., ESPN and New Line Cinema. Since the new unit has some overlapping responsibilities, will Chokolat continue in its present form?

“Chokolat won’t close. We are going to create much more proximity between Chokolat and the rest of agency,” said Rabinowicz. Although he does note that while Taxi Content will work with Chokolat, it will not do so exclusively. “As we get in mobile or gaming, that wouldn’t be Chokolat. Taxi Content will do TV through Chokolat, but also perhaps through other producers,” he said.

Taxi Content’s move comes as many in the ad industry are reassessing what is currently possible in the in-game advertising world and are scouting for alternative models.

Setting up the new unit is way for the agency to focus exclusively on emerging platforms, said Rabinowicz. “If you spend too much time around Taxi, you’ll see that everyone is focused on the core work. It’s almost impossible to be up to speed and do brilliant work in those emerging areas,” he said.

Taxi Content will at first work with existing Taxi clients, but it will eventually pursue outside accounts. “If you don’t think we’re achieving an exceptional work, then shoot me. Because if you don’t, Paul will,” said Rabinowicz.