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SIDEBAR: Beware of culture clashes

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Your ad agency just bought one or more Web developers to create a new media division. It looks good on paper, but insiders say be wary.

"Advertising and interactive shops do not always have the smoothest relationships," says Joe McCambley, president of Thunder House On-line Marketing and Communications. "Sometimes, they're even competitors."

He speaks from experience. The $17 million division was recently formed by McCann Erickson through acquisitions.

Mark Solomon, president of Magnet Interactive, agrees. "Account executives are still protective of their clients and are reluctant to share, regardless of their parent company."

If you're bent on using an agency today, best bets can be shops such as San Francisco-based Ruben Postair, which have grown their interactive expertise in-house.

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