Think Jostling For J&J Interactive

Packaged Goods Marketer Joins Growing March to Online Media
LOS ANGELES–Think New Ideas has emerged as one of the contenders in a review for Johnson & Johnson’s interactive ad business.
Following a path blazed by other large packaged goods marketers such as Procter & Gamble, J&J is looking to hire one or more shops to handle creative development and media planning and buying for online ads.
Think, based in Los Angeles and New York, is one of about five interactive agencies the New Brunswick, N.J.-based company has contacted, said sources. The others include CKS Group and, both in New York, as well as a number of undisclosed shops. DoubleClick, New York, an online advertising rep firm that sells banners to advertisers on a number of sites, was also contacted, sources said.
The company has not specified a budget for the online media business. Executives at J&J and the agencies either declined to comment or could not be reached.
The agency search is “in the early stages,” and the company has not set a date for picking any winners, said sources. J&J may select more than one shop to handle interactive assignments, mirroring its approach to its traditional advertising.
While the winning shops will handle online media buying, they will not be given agency of record status, and Web site design is not part of the pitch, said sources.
A catalyst for the review, sources said, may have been the P&G-sponsored Future of Advertising Stakeholders Summit, held last month in Cincinnati, which J&J and at least some of the participating agencies attended.
“Interactive is not going away,” said one source. “Sooner or later, even the sleeping giants like J&J wake up.”
The project will also not be limited to specific brands or product groups, said sources. For example, one shop could handle a corporate interactive assignment, while another could work for J&J’s Consumer Products unit.
J&J, which markets brands such as Band-Aid, spent a total of $740 million on measured media in 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting. For the first six months of 1998, J&J spent around $350 million.
The company’s roster of traditional agencies includes McCann-Erickson, Ammirati Puris Lintas and Saatchi & Saatchi. Those shops do not appear to be involved in the interactive search, said sources. –with Adrienne Mand