Larry Chase, a New York free- lance copywriter, has opened the doors of what may be the first agency to offer its services entirely online. More than 50 "staffers" are available in areas including creative, account management, media planning and production.
"I saw what Chiat was doing with its virtual office," said Mr. Chase, 40, a former copywriter for Young & Rubicam, Backer Spielvogel Bates and Doyle Dane Bernbach and a professed online junkie. "Depending on what you want, I can put together a work group ... and we can deliver the services for significantly less than an agency in real space."
Mr. Chase said he got the idea for the agency when he was doing free-lance work last year for Fountain Technologies, a small PC clone company in New Jersey. As overnight mail bills mounted, he convinced the company to subscribe to an online service, something he says he'll ask new clients to do, too.
Mr. Chase stresses, however, that his agency is more than just an employment service. Staffers can work online, modeming copy, designs and media plans to clients. And the agency can be contacted through online services including Prodigy, America Online, CompuServe and the Internet.
"There's more of an interactive role than simply [that] I can get you the talent," Mr. Chase said. "Companies can order services directly online."
The agency has a presence on a small New York online service called SenseNet. Companies interested in the Online Ad Agency can click under "Professional Services" to see a menu of the agency's offerings. Clicking on the "portfolio" icon calls up a QuickTime TV commercial Mr. Chase did for Nynex a few years ago, as well as a few print ads, in color.
Prospective clients can see names and biographies of agency "staffers" and then send an e-mail order to Mr. Chase.
Mr. Chase is marketing the agency to small-to-medium-size technology and telecommunications companies. His first client is Pastel Development Corp., a marketer of computer personal information managers. The Online Ad Agency will work on package design and communications for the company on a retainer basis.
While the Online Ad Agency will do traditional media advertising, Mr. Chase said he thinks his agency is well-suited to do interactive advertising, too.
"Part of what we want to bring to clients are new media," Mr. Chase said, citing his expertise in working on online services.
Fees vary, he said, depending on the type of project. Some clients will pay a project fee; others will pay a daily rate.
Contact the Online Ad Agency at firstname.lastname@example.org on the Internet; Larry Chase on Prodigy; 70700,616 on CompuServe; and LarryChase on America Online.