G-Whiz! has made great strides since opening its office doors just over a year and a half ago. Coming out of the starting gate with billings estimated at US$20 million, the agency’s current Gen Y projects include pushing Warner Home Video Shilo in partnership with the Boy Scouts of America and Scholastic, as well as developing launch campaigns for WB videos featuring properties such as Jack Frost, The Wizard of Oz, Scooby-Doo and Bugs Bunny. The wholly owned subsidiary is also launching a campaign for the reintroduction of an Elmer’s Glue line, as well as collaborating with Grey Advertising’s Mediacom on the Reebok account.
Headed by president Barbara Martino, G-Whiz! grew out of 18 and Under, a Grey unit specializing in commercials for children. The need for a separate arm of Grey arose from the fact that advertisers wanted more than just advertising, says Doulas Zarkin, VP and brand manager. Instead, G-Whiz! offers what it terms ‘lifestyle marketing’ for Gen Y, which includes advertising, promotions, on-line presence, research and planning.
The key to this confusing demo, according to G-Whiz! is research, research, research. ‘In order to understand the lifestyle of the target, you have to develop an expertise in every aspect of their life,’ says Zarkin.
For example, G-Whiz! tries to take focus groups out of the boardroom. ‘What we’ll do is instead of putting kids in a room and eating M&Ms until we throw up, we’ll get permission to go into their bedrooms and watch them interact and play video games.’ That way, Zarkin says, the company comes up with better information and stronger marketing strategies.