Saturday, July 21, 2007

R/GA to open retail agency

Last year, Saatchi & Saatchi introduced Saatchi X to help Wal-Mart and others master the art and science of in-store marketing. This year, to get a leg up on competition preparing to follow along, Interpublic Group's R/GA is joining in on the fun and creating their own retail division. From this article at CNN:

"We think there is a great opportunity for retailers to create innovative and informative experiences as the cost of the enabling technologies continues to fall," said Bob Greenberg, CEO and global chief creative officer of R/GA. "By carefully integrating digital display and interactive technologies retailers can enhance promotions and help customers have a better branded and more meaningful shopping experience. Over the years we've shown that in-store digital strategies are very cost effective and profitable."

John Jones, 40, previously technical creative director, has been appointed executive creative director of the offering. He is charged with building up R/GA's retail capabilities, including in-store digital product displays, games and digital signage, plus overseeing the development of new methods of customer interaction. He will report to Nick Law, chief creative officer, NA, to ensure that the in-store experience is also a branded environment.

The firm certainly isn't a stranger to in-store work, having done all sorts of non-traditional marketing projects both at the store-level and elsewhere out-of-home, but this is the first time that they've articulated a more generalized approach to the market. Of all the interactive marketing, kiosk and digital signage projects that I've seen or heard about coming from them, I think my favorite has to be their promotion with Nike that allowed people in New York's Times Square to use their cellphones to build their own custom Nike shoe, and see the results on one of the Square's huge outdoor electric billboards.

So now that Publicis Groupe and Interpublic Group both have retail agencies in their portfolios, how long will it be before we see similar groups emerge under Omnicom and WPP? Sure, they both have a handful of companies that specialize in retail media measurement, research, and other critical but often less-than-sexy endeavors, but neither has a bona fide retail advertising agency... yet.

Technorati Tags: retail, media,R/GA,digital, signage,advertising

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