Campbell-Ewald's direct hit

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Susan logar brody says being a copywriter and direct marketer is part of her "genetic code," giving her a different world view from her mass-media creative counterparts. "Some people like to ask, `How does [the advertising] make you feel?' and I think [results-oriented] direct people by and large still ask, `How'd I do?' "

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Ms. Logar Brody, recently promoted to exec VP-executive creative director at Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., from exec VP-creative director, proclaimed herself a direct marketer in the mid-1980s when she launched a free-lance career. She has the heart of a writer and the soul of a results-driven direct marketer-her head for business and her forte for adding clients to the agency's roster are as much a part of her job as creating successful campaigns.

Ms. Logar Brody described Campbell-Ewald, ranked No. 22 in marketing services revenue according to Advertising Age data, as a high-energy place in which her own frenetic pace fits well. "We don't use big words and we don't pause a whole lot; we just keep moving," she said.

On one typical Tuesday morning, she was dividing her attention between three new-business pitches and three existing clients.

"It's just part of the world here," said Ms. Logar Brody, who joined the Interpublic Group of Cos. agency in 1992 as senior VP-marketing, programs director, focusing on acquiring new direct clients. "You don't do new business on Wednesdays; you do new business every day."

That philosophy trickles through the ranks. In reference to her 75-person creative staff-the largest group among Campbell-Ewald's 270-person creative department-she said that "everybody does look at the business side, and that's a creative point of view that's very different." At a typical agency meeting, "you wouldn't be able to tell who's account and who's creative."

DIRECT'S INTEGRAL ROLE

Direct marketing plays an integral role at every point of the new-business process, from narrowly defining the target at the front end using database analytics to tracking the effectiveness of a campaign at the back end, said Chief Creative Officer Bill Ludwig.

This integration of direct with traditional advertising has contributed to the agency's two-year boom. Since 1998, Campbell-Ewald has added an estimated $450 million in billings from new clients such as Borders Group and Pier 1 Imports, and that doesn't include its major win in September of the U.S. Navy account, which could reach as much as $330 million over five years.

Marketing services activities brought in $65.6 million in revenue in 1999, close to 30% of Campbell-Ewald's total revenue of $223 million.

The direct and database aspect helps the agency enter into new-business pitches after "really doing our homework, really defining the target, and we look smarter in front of that client. The whole accountability issue is a discipline that has always existed in the direct marketing world," Mr. Ludwig said.

"Every piece of new business has a direct component to it; that's the whole Campbell-Ewald way," Ms. Logar Brody said. "The lofty ideals of a brand campaign and the gritty reality of direct [are included] whenever we do a pitch or look at a piece of new business."

"Direct played a major, major part" in the Navy win, she added.

In addition to working on integrated campaigns, Ms. Logar Brody's group also claims some clients as its own, such as Continental Airlines, Pearle Vision and Whirlpool Corp., which remains a direct client despite moving its general ad account from Campbell-Ewald in September 1999 to consolidate at Publicis.

Ms. Logar Brody's steady stream of promotions since signing on with the agency eight years ago reflects Campbell-Ewald's seriousness about direct. "It's sort of an iconoclast that we're not sitting here stomping our feet saying, `Pay attention to direct,' " Ms. Logar Brody said. "Direct is not a stepchild at this place."

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