Grey is extending its stable of UK subsidiary operations by launching a customised communications specialist to build direct links between advertisers and consumers.
The venture, called Grey Desire, kicks off with assignments from three of the Grey network's bedrock clients - Procter & Gamble, Mars and SmithKline Beecham - but is aiming to draw 70 per cent of its business from outside the Grey roster.
Grey Desire will sit alongside Grey Interactive and Joshua, the group's through-the-line operation. Peter Boggs, Grey Desire's chairman, said: 'It fits well with the other Grey agencies in London, although some of what we do may overlap.'
The opening of Grey Desire, with a staff of 17, is the culmination of more than six months' work by Boggs, and is intended to service what he claims are significant gaps in the market. 'A lot of below-the-line agencies have become very large, while clients are looking for more personal relationships with high-quality people,' Boggs commented.
The agency's offering will include direct marketing and direct response advertising to build up client databases.
MediaCom TMB will handle its media requirements.
The agency line-up includes Andy Blackford, the former Joshua creative chief, who will combine his role as director of integration with his job as the creative director of one of Grey's five 'agencies within an agency'.
Miles Murphy, the former planning director of Interfocus, becomes the managing director, with Catherine Gale, the ex-European marketing director of Havas, as his deputy. The data consultant Ian Liddicoat and the creative director Ian Thomas complete the line-up.