Interactive Agencies--Winner: Modem Media

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Location: San Francisco
Key executive: Martin Reidy, president
Employees: N/A
2006 revenue: N/A
2006 b-to-b revenue: N/A
Key clients: Delta Air Lines, Hewlett-Packard Co., Kraft Foods, Wells Fargo, Wyeth
Major 2006 campaigns: HP, "ProCurve Netwoking," online banners, online video, print; HP, "Tea Running," online video, viral campaign, Web site; Ericsson, "Volvo Ocean Race," online advertising, e-mail, video, event support
Comments: B-to-b makes up approximately 60% of total business; b-to-b revenue grew by about 30%; named interactive agency of record for HP's Technology Solutions Group and Personal Systems Group in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; expanded presence overseas.

Modem Media, which claims status as the first interactive marketing agency and the first agency to post ads on the Internet, had an exceptional year in 2006 with its b-to-b business.

The agency was founded in 1987 and created early Web sites for clients including General Eleectric Co., AT&T and the White House. In 2004, holding company Digitas Inc. acquired Modem for $200 million. Modem Media operates as an independent agency of Digitas Inc., which also owns interactive agency Digitas.

With a slate of clients including Delta Air Lines, Ericsson, Hewlett-Packard Co., Kraft Foods and Wells Fargo, Modem provides a wide variety of digital marketing services, including strategy, creative, media and analytics.

"B-to-b is our fastest-growing area," said Martin Reidy, president of Modem.

B-to-b makes up roughly 60% of the agency's total business.

In 2006, Modem grew its b-to-b business by about 30%, with key wins such as being named interactive agency of record for HP's Technology Solutions Group and Personal Systems Group in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The win expanded Modem's existing HP relationship across more than 40 countries.

To support HP, Modem established a presence in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Dubai and Turkey in 2006, in addition to its existing London office.

The agency added more than a dozen new clients last year and picked up expanded work from existing clients including Shell Oil Co., Samsung and Wells Fargo.

It also opened a media office in New York and formed a Web 2.0 group, responsible for identifying and deploying emerging technology and media initiatives.

One of its most innovative campaigns was a viral online video called "Tea Runner," to promote HP's notebook computers to the small and midsize business market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

"We wanted something eye-catching, and video is one of the fastest-growing areas," Reidy said.

A film technique popular in Europe is freerunning, which shows a lot of action in a single shot. To engage with business owners and show the versatility of HP notebooks, the agency filmed a short video of an office worker running all over the office, jumping over file cabinets and doing backflips, all while balancing a cup of tea to deliver to a co-worker.

The viral campaign has appeared on social networking sites such as YouTube and

Modem also created a campaign for telecommunications company Ericsson to promote its sponsorship of the Volvo Ocean Race and show how its communications technology was being used in the around-the-world race.

Modem used video to capture footage taken during the competition, such as waves crashing on ship decks, that became metaphors for business challenges.

It also used online advertising to drive customers to Ericsson events held around the world in conjunction with the race.

The video appeared on the Erissson Web site, in online advertising and in viral marketing campaigns.

"When you get into the tech world in the b-to-b space, you have to be clever and relevant," Reidy said.

  Large Agencies Midsize Agencies Small Agencies Interactive Agencies
Winner McCann Erickson HSR Business to Business Mobium Group Modem Media
Runner-up Ogilvy North America Doremus PJA Advertising+Marketing OTOi
Honorable Mention BBDO New York Slack Barshinger Stein Rogan+Partners Digitas
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