Maybe the last thing the world needs right now is another boutique spin-off from a major ad agency, but John Partilla, managing director of Young & Rubicam startup BrandBuzz, says this one’s different. The 15-member New York-based unit was created late last year to meet growing demand for a new breed of agency that can plan and coordinate effective multioutlet campaigns with edge, says Partilla.
‘Increasingly, we were discovering in our pitches and from talking to our current clients that it’s getting harder and harder for them to reach consumers through traditional mass channels alone,’ he says. ‘The Web is going to be a big part of the future of communications, but it’s not nearly as powerful [by itself] as integrating it with advertising-both on-line and off-line-as well as PR, promos, events, sponsorships and guerrilla marketing.’
The unit’s strength lies in a ‘brand central’ and ‘discipline neutral’ approach, which Partilla says ensures that the best mediums are used in the right mix to promote brands because BrandBuzz has equal access to them all. He adds that the unit specializes in ‘burst efforts,’ rather than ongoing client relationships, involving ad hoc teams of passionate marketers in their early 20s who volunteer from anywhere within the Y&R empire.
All of this makes it the perfect agency for reaching teens, Partilla says: ‘Teens, more than any other audience right now, are spending less time with the mass channels and more time with their own video games, on the Web, and with their niche cable channels and niche magazines. So you need to get to this audience in a much more aggressive, tailored way. That’s what we’re all about.’