The agency, headed by partners Mike Schell, 45, and Brian Mullaney, 35, is so proficient that client Computer Associates-the world's second-largest independent software marketer behind Microsoft Corp.-consolidated its worldwide account with the shop's single office this year, a month before IBM Corp. followed suit with Ogilvy & Mather.
From its high-tech, "paperless" office in downtown Manhattan, Schell/Mullaney creates ads and buys all of CA's $35 million in worldwide media.
With access to all major online services, including the Internet, America On-Line, CompuServe, Prodigy and MCI Mail, the agency can communicate by electronic mail with client offices worldwide.
In buying international media, Mr. Mullaney says the agency deals directly with publications abroad. "They all have someone who speaks English and they're hungry for the work."
Interpreters translate creative into eight other languages; the client's own offices outside the U.S. can step in to make sure the ads translate in culture and dialect.
"When producing an ad for someone in Finland, instead of faxing it, we just send them an electronic file that they open up, zoom in and look at," Mr. Mullaney says. "Internet and CompuServe let us talk to clients in Sweden, Singapore and South Africa. We get e-mail assignments and things happen quickly and accurately."
Although the agency works so closely with the client the gregarious Mr. Mullaney keeps an office next door to Gary Quinn, CA's senior VP-marketing, Mr. Quinn stresses that Schell/Mullaney is independent, not a house agency.
This year alone, estimates Mr. Mullaney, Schell/Mullaney will create between 400 and 500 ads for the cornerstone client, whose account at one time was handled by 18 agencies.
J. Walter Thompson Co. was one of those, and it was there that Mr. Mullaney, as a senior VP-creative director, first worked on the business. Tired of big-agency politics, he left in December 1989, and three months later, working out of his apartment, Mr. Mullaney lassoed its $12 million CA business.
The duo just recently started growing, but they don't care to venture beyond the high-tech arena. "We're trying to do one thing really well," says Mr. Mullaney.