CAMPAIGNDIRECT: ISSUE INTEGRATED SERVICES - Integrated packages provoke a mixed response/But approval is likely to outweigh scepticism as media landscapes change, Francesca Newland says

Take Thompson Total Branding from J. Walter Thompson, or 360-Degree Branding from Ogilvy & Mather, or even 3-D from HHCL & Partners. McCann-Erickson will manufacture a ’Brand Footprint’ for you at the drop of a hat. More and more of the major networks are coming up with integrated offerings which have a natty little name.

Take Thompson Total Branding from J. Walter Thompson, or 360-Degree

Branding from Ogilvy & Mather, or even 3-D from HHCL & Partners.

McCann-Erickson will manufacture a ’Brand Footprint’ for you at the drop

of a hat. More and more of the major networks are coming up with

integrated offerings which have a natty little name.



But advertising agencies are good at coming up with natty little phrases

that sound meaningful - it’s part of their job. The rise of the ’branded

branding device’ is regarded by many as little short of a con, but

others see big benefits for both the income stream of the agency and the

branding of a client’s products.



’These kind of offerings are fraught with bullshit, overclaim and

hypocrisy,’ one unenthusiastic industry source, says. And a quick scan

of the top-ten UK agencies shows he is not alone in his thinking.



Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, BMP DDB, DMB&B and Publicis do not have a

branded integrated offering.



All of the above will add, however, that as part of highly developed

group structures, they can fulfil the integrated desires of any

client.



Young & Rubicam has abandoned its ’Whole Egg’ integrated service because

it was decided that clients didn’t necessarily want all the services on

offer. Bert Meerstadt, president of Y&R Europe, says: ’We’re not trying

to force our integrated offering on to clients, but we have the services

if we need them.’



This feeling is shared by James Best, group chairman of BMP: ’There are

very few clients who want that kind of thing,’ he says. The DDB network

does have a branding tool, called ’Beyond DDB’, but as yet the UK agency

does not offer the scheme to its clients.



Best’s sentiments are echoed by Nigel Marsh, client services director at

DMB&B. He says: ’We do offer an integrated communications package if our

clients want it. But for us it’s not about giving it a fancy name, it’s

about doing it.’



There is, however, a key difference between the group offer and the

total branding devices. With the group offer, clients are presented with

a series of add-on options - ’if you like, our sister agency can handle

your public relations, and another can take care of your direct

marketing’. The main focus is on above the line, with other services

seen as fringe benefits.



With the branded integrated schemes, on the other hand, the client buys

into integrated thinking from the beginning. The communications strategy

will not necessarily pivot around above-the-line advertising. Robin

Azis, managing director of HHCL & Partners, says: ’I think it’s about a

media-neutral standing, while it used to be communications led by

advertising. But what is of true value is when - in one building - you

get integrated thinking.’



HHCL’s 3-D arguably represents integrated thinking in its purest

form.



Azis says: ’We see ourselves as a communications agency, not an

integrated agency.’ At HHCL, the advertising specialists sit alongside

the direct marketing specialists, who are blended in with the public

relations experts, who mingle with the sales promotion people. Each

account team is composed of a mixture of specialists, depending on the

client’s needs.



An example of the media-neutral approach is the work that the agency has

done for British Airways’ budget airline, Go. HHCL hired and briefed the

identity consultancy, Wolff Olins, which came up with the Go name.



At the launch, press releases included HHCL’s phone number for further

information. The agency came up with stunts such as a projection on

Edinburgh’s Arthur’s Seat when the airline launched its Edinburgh

service. And, of course, there has been the above-the-line

advertising.



With JWT’s offer - Thompson Total Branding - the communications strategy

is devised and then the various projects can be assigned in-house or

outsourced. Every new client goes through a structured session called

’the day one’. These sessions are used to define the brand and to select

the best media to communicate the concept. Marco Rimini, director of

strategy and development at JWT, says: ’Clients are more likely to get a

competitive advantage over their rivals by taking a total

perspective.’



JWT Manchester used this scheme with Alton Towers to come up with the

name ’Oblivion’ for the park’s latest ride. The agency also produced

ads, made T-shirts and installed TVs over the queue to help build

suspense.



Clients that have used these types of schemes speak highly of them.

Charles Gordon, marketing director of Hoover, employed O&M’s 360-Degree

Branding for the launch of the Hoover Vortex. ’The good thing is you get

the creative accelerator,’ he says. ’By the end of 360-Degree, you are

cooking on gas.



I’ve been exposed to good creative teams in seven different agencies

(within WPP). There are financial benefits too.’



Colonel Rory Clayton, head of planning, resources and marketing for the

Army Recruiting Group, is proud of the results of the partnership with

Saatchi & Saatchi. ’Since they came on board five years ago, they have

transformed army recruitment marketing. We achieve all our targets,’ he

says.



Saatchis does not have a name for its integrated system, claiming that

clients get the integration no matter what (it famously dropped the word

’advertising’ from its name two years ago). Andrew Goulborn, the

agency’s communications director, says: ’We believe in genuine

integration. As soon as you start calling it a different thing you get

away from integration.’



Saatchis has a team - the Pyne Group - working on the Army account.

Headed by Jeremy Pyne, the group account director, it includes account

handlers, direct marketing strategists and a public relations team, who

all sit together in an open-plan environment.



But the biggest fan of all seems to be David Magliano, Go’s marketing

director. He says: ’The agency culture is not founded on ’the solution

is advertising, now what’s the problem’. Advertising is only one part of

a brand manifestation in a market and therefore you have to think about

it in its entirety.



’We ended up with an extremely consistent presentation of the brand.



The uniforms, boarding passes, phone message, direct mail - it’s all

consistent. That’s partly down to me and partly down to HHCL.’



All of these branded devices are relatively new to the advertising

market: 360-Degree is being introduced at the moment and McCanns’ Brand

Footprint was introduced five years ago.



Kevin Allen, executive vice-president and director of business

development Europe for McCanns, explains some of the reasons why. ’It’s

an income game to some extent,’ he admits. But he adds: ’Increasingly,

all of our clients have come to the realisation that their brand, if not

their most precious asset, is one of them.



’It’s also a response to the changing way in which people consume media.

No longer do people simply sit in front of the TV all evening. People

are consuming media in an extraordinary array of fashions.’



He’s right. Take Unilever’s decision in February to shift its global

advertising spend away from TV. With the world’s second-biggest

advertiser turning away from conventional above-the-line advertising,

the smartest agencies are polishing up their non-advertising

credentials.



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