Carlson poised to restructure UK operation into three shops

- Carlson, the below the line agency group, is poised for a restructure which is likely to culminate in the creation of three separate brands servicing distinct areas of marketing services: direct marketing, customer loyalty and sales promotion.

- Carlson, the below the line agency group, is poised for a restructure which is likely to culminate in the creation of three separate brands servicing distinct areas of marketing services: direct marketing, customer loyalty and sales promotion.

It is expected that Smith Bundy Carlson -- the agency formed by Carlson's acquisition of the mail order and fundraising specialist, Smith Bundy, in November 1996 -- will take the lead on the direct marketing portion of Carlson's output.

Alongside the proposed standalone customer loyalty business, it has been suggested that a third arm will be set up, a sales promotion unit tentatively entitled Carlson 11.

Carlson's joint chief executive, Steve Cook, would not confirm that the plans were finalised, but admitted that they were being considered, and staff have been informed of the changes.

There are currently five distinct brands which form Carlson's group of agencies: Carlson Marketing Group Europe; Carlson; Smith Bundy Carlson; the internal marketing agency, Aegis, and the design shop, BBM Carlson.

Cook explained: "There is enormous equity behind Carlson's name; we now have to consider whether names such as BBM and Aegis carry the same amount of equity. If I were a betting man, I may well wager that these names could be dropped."

The move appears to unravel the unified structure that was put in place in May 1996, when three agencies, MHA Carlson, FKB Carlson and Carlson Loyalty Marketing, merged under the main Carlson umbrella.

Cook added that Carlson was also seeking acquisitions "that complement what we already have in place. We will definitely be doing some interesting things in mainland Europe this year."



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