NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Less than three years after launching as a unit of McCann Worldgroup to handle work for key client Microsoft, San Fransisco-based T.A.G. is breaking off from McCann to become a stand-alone shop within Interpublic Group of Cos.
As part of the move, T.A.G. is rebranding itself AgencyTwoFifteen -- a nod to the agency's offices at 215 Leidesdorff St. The shop will be run by a trio of partners: Scott Duchon, Mike Harris and John Patroulis.
All were partners at T.A.G., and were also the creative and strategic team behind the global Xbox "Halo 3" "Believe" campaign that swept the 2008 awards shows, including two Grand Prix trophies at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.
Messrs. Duchon, Harris and Patroulis released a statement explaining the move: "With this new venture, we are able to preserve the unique creative culture that has been so important for us and our clients, while gaining a flat, nimble structure that can adjust to client needs."
For AgencyTwoFifteen, the new line of demarcation gives it more operational autonomy, but for McCann, it puts at a distance creative resources at a time when it needs it most.
Since McCann set up the unit in 2007, T.A.G. has doubled in size to 50 employees and has grown in importance to one of Interpublic's biggest accounts, Microsoft. T.A.G.'s first big win was the Zune music player (now handled by Crispin Porter & Bogusky), followed by creative duties for Microsoft's Xbox gaming system, and U.S. responsibility for launching Microsoft's new mobile offering.
That offering -- which up until now has been code-named Pink -- is expected to be unveiled by Microsoft at an event later today that will also announce a major campaign push for the phone line. Tech bloggers like 9to5Mac.com are speculating the social-networking-focused phones are be dubbed "Kin" and will use the Verizon Wireless network.
Microsoft is easily AgencyTwoFifteen's biggest client, though it is also on Nescafe's roster and its staffers have been behind campaigns for Adidas and other major brands. It's safe to say the shop won't waste much time trying to bring in new clients to diversify its roster.
Services offered by AgencyTwoFifteen include strategic planning and the creative development and execution of brand and product ideas across a variety of media.