Burnett's interactive unit moves out

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Giant Step, Leo Burnett Co.'s interactive subsidiary, is stepping out.

The 22-person unit has signed on its first clients outside of the Burnett roster, and in January will move out of Burnett's headquarters in Chicago.

Giant Step won pitches for Internet-related projects for Harris Bank and Thomson Consumer Electronics' RCA and internal interactive communications assignments for Motorola. The Motorola work, however, came to the shop via Arthur Andersen & Co., a Burnett client.

Giant Step follows Grey Interactive in moving to new headquarters outside of the parent agency. While Giant Step said the move is a result of a need for more physical space, it exemplifies a growing trend among large traditional agencies to establish their interactive units as separate profit centers.

"The majority of our business is still Burnett clients," said Rishad Tobaccowala, president of Giant Step. "If we are going to grow, we need to go after [non-Burnett clients]. The Internet makes a lot of sense for electronics, for example."

Giant Step will move into 10,000 square feet of former warehouse space at 820 W. Jackson St., several blocks west of Burnett's headquarters.

Burnett officially set up Giant Step as a separate company in May, disbanding its internal Interactive Marketing Group.

Copyright November 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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