The New York shop will now be known as simply AG. But it also will be known as an agency that doesn't handle production for the ads it creates.
During a six-month to one-year transition period, Chairman Peter Arnell said, the shop will continue an evolution into what he calls-and the agency has trademarked-"market making." The creation of print, radio and TV ads will gradually move over to affiliate Sweet Pea Productions or to the client's choice of an ad agency or in-house group.
The change follows the recent trend by Madison Avenue shops to redefine the traditional role of ad agencies. Although Arnell Group never fit the conventional description, it's joining the burgeoning trend of extending beyond traditional advertising.
"Most clients are seeking to develop, create or manage a market," Mr. Arnell said. "Large consulting firms bring people down to the end of the wire, but never go past that. Agencies implement creative. . . . There is a bridge that is needed for companies to grow."
Current clients include American Media, Tommy Hilfiger, Movado, Parmalat, Samsung and the recent addition of Polaroid Corp.
Parmalat is preparing for a new bottle design for the introduction of its fresh milk in January, as well as the launch of a Web site and character collectibles for kids. All are being created and designed by AG companies-from the plastic bottle to the dozen Pokemon-like characters for kids to collect.
AVOIDING THE 'SAFE WAYS'
"I didn't want to deal with the old conventions and safe ways of advertising agencies," said Adriano Di Petrillo, Parmalat marketing director. "We didn't just want some ads with cows and farms in them."
Other units under the shop's umbrella are Surge Interactive (interactive); A3D (architecture and design); Phenom (urban marketing); Paul (sports, events and entertainment); Witherspoon Entertainment (entertainment); Three- Sixty (design); Instinct (rapid-response specialists, based in London); and the affiliation with Sweet Pea Productions.
Media buying also will be available, as Arnell Media.
This is not the first time Mr. Arnell has shifted focus to anticipate coming trends. Six years ago, Arnell Bickford Associates became Arnell Group Brand Consulting. He tweaked the name to reflect what he saw coming-more emphasis on branding, less on the production of 30-second TV spots.
"The category called advertising needs to be redefined," Mr. Arnell said. "All of these things that make up communications are changing. It may not be exactly