CKS OPENS INTERACTIVE BUYING UNIT

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CKS Partners, which bills itself as the marketing agency of the future, is crafting a media department for the interactive age.

The newly formed CKS Media unit will be headed jointly by Media Directors Kelly Black, who earlier this month left BBDO Worldwide, Los Angeles, where she was worldwide Apple account director; and Virginia Cooper, former VP-media director at BBDO, San Francisco. Ms. Black will handle consumer accounts, while Ms. Cooper will handle business-to-business clients.

"We are trying to look at the whole media function in a new, fresh way," said Mark Kvamme, president-CEO of Cupertino, Calif.-based CKS Partners.

While most traditional agencies lack people with the technical know-how to implement new-media buys, CKS Partners will provide that backup, he said.

"You need computer programmers on site," said Ms. Black. "Interactive or CD-ROM requires some expertise."

Mr. Kvamme has separated CKS and its 150 employees into three companies: CKS Partners, an integrated marketing agency with offices in Silicon Valley, London, San Francisco and Portland, Ore.; CKS Pictures, a video production facility; and CKS Interactive, a multimedia agency.

CKS Media is structured as a separate profit center. It will handle clients of CKS Partners, but will also be available to work with other ad agencies and independent clients. Almost a third of CKS Pictures and CKS Interactive clients have no relationship with CKS Partners, Mr. Kvamme said.

"We want to put strategic brainpower behind media," said Ms. Cooper. "We are going to become experts on all the channels to the mind so we can control the distribution" of information.

One of the media department's biggest challenges will be to get a handle on how to measure the effectiveness of the new media, she said: "How do you measure the cost or effectiveness of a megabit on CD-ROM?"

CKS Media is born with $10 million to $15 million in billings, Mr. Kvamme said. It will work with media buying services on traditional media, and has developed a strategic alliance with Bates USA, New York, for media research on the interactive market.

CKS Media clients include Zing Systems, a play-along interactive TV company that's also a CKS Partners client. CKS, with net revenues of $25 million, claims to be doubling in size every other quarter.

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