- Spirit, the advertising agency launched in April by Michael Dobbs, Richard Hammond and Mitch Levy, is backing a below-the-line agency fronted by Mike Berry, an industry veteran whose career spans several high-profile below-the-line outfits.
Berry will hold the majority shareholding in Spirit Direct and Promotional Marketing, which opens its doors on 1 September, and has so far hired two junior account handlers. Freelancers will be drafted in to handle creative tasks until the client base has grown.
The agency will be independent to Spirit, and will be free to pitch for conflicting business, though Berry will be able to draw upon the advertising agency's resources for other business.
"Spirit has real momentum and seemed to be the perfect agency with which to set up," Berry said. "I'd become convinced there was a place in the market for a pan-European direct marketing/sales promotion agency, offering a full strategic and creative service but without the baggage and cost structure of a network."
Berry's most recent position was as the European managing director of Group II Worldwide, a Chicago-based company which creates point-of-sale material for McDonald's, Coca-Cola and American Airlines. He left the company in May, citing "disaffection with large corporate life" and began negotiations with Spirit while finishing his newly-published book, The New Integrated Direct Marketing.
Before Group II, Berry was at Bozell Worldwide, where he was the senior vice-president for European integration and the founder and managing director of Bozell Marketing Services, which later merged into Marketing Drive. Prior to that, he worked at Kevin Morley Marketing, Wunderman (prior to its merger with Cato Johnson), Brann, and Procter & Gamble.
Spirit DPM is launching with three clients: Longmire, the luxury goods company; Omni Solutions, the information technology company; and the office furniture supplier, System Interiors. Berry said: "Our first clients are small, but treat direct marketing very seriously and will grow with us."
Michael Dobbs said: "Spirit DPM is a very natural and logical extension of the Spirit brand, and already client interest is considerable."