Draft Worldwide Lands Sara Lee, Boosts Promotions Unit

Agency Also Names New Worldwide Director, Ramps Up N.Y. Office

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- DraftWorldwide is ramping up its promotional services in its New York office, courtesy of a new client, Sara Lee Corp.

Sara Lee's Coffee and Tea division last month named the Interpublic Group of Cos. shop promotional agency of record, becoming the first marketer to be served by a new promotional group in Draft's New York office.

Draft, a full service marketing-service agency, already has a strong promotional presence in Chicago with clients that include Burger King Corp. and Kellogg Co. Winning the Sara Lee business, which was previously handled by Aspen Marketing Group, New York, gave Draft the opportunity it was hoping for to expand its promotional capabilities beyond the Windy City.

Waiting for an opportunity
"We've been wanting

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to have a more meaningful promotional presence in New York for a long time, and this was the catalyst," said Lee Hill, formerly president of Draft, Chicago, who steps into the new position of vice chairman and worldwide director of promotions. The New York office is best known for its direct and digital marketing capabilities.

Yvonne Furth, Draft's president and chief operating officer, USA, will oversee day-to-day operations in the Chicago office.

The Sara Lee account will have 12 new staffers led by former Aspen employees Robyn Imbimbo, senior executive vice president and managing director, promotions; and Steven Weiss, senior executive vice president and creative director, promotions. The assignment includes promotional, sports and entertainment marketing for the Chock Full o' Nuts and Hills Bros. brands, with new work expected to appear this summer.

Aspen did not return calls for comment.

Changing landscape
"The landscape has changed, in that clients are interested in whichever group solves problems for them. They're becoming less and less interested in what the discipline is," said Mr. Hill, who will remain based in Chicago. "Promotions did not have access up through senior management over the last half dozen or so years, and boy has that ever changed."

Package-goods marketers, in particular, are boosting promotional activity, said Alexia Quadrani, an analyst at Bear Stearns & Co. "In the short term we're seeing strength in promotional spending, more than advertising spending."

Ms. Quadrani said it's important to offer one-stop shopping on a worldwide scale: "With half of the world's advertising coming from multinational players, having a global presence is very important."

And that's Mr. Hill's charge.

"My role is to develop and expand our promotional offerings around the world," Mr. Hill said. "There are clients in Europe and Canada that can be brought into other countries, not just exported for the U.S."

Win-win situation
But expanding services is not just about helping the client. It also benefits the agency, said David Beals, president-CEO of Chicago-based search consultancy Jones Lundin Beals.

"For the bigger agencies, especially the ones that have national and international capabilities, it's helpful to grow those resources for clients," Mr. Beals said, "and also, in turn, to grow their own bottom line."

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