McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, New York, and Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., this week give birth to the Publishing Agency, a joint venture that will develop a variety of print materials for clients.
McCann is the first of the top 10 largest agencies to enter the custom publishing arena. Campbell-Ewald is one of a few shops to have already embraced the medium. It owns one of the largest U.S. custom publishers, C-E Publishing, which produces 39 titles including magazines for clients General Motors Corp. and IBM Corp.
CUSTOM PUBLISHING 'MORE VITAL'
"As marketers face more and more competition, and as one-to-one marketing becomes more critical, custom publishing becomes more important and even vital," said Kirk Cheyfitz, the Publishing Agency's worldwide managing director. "It's an area of communication that will be generating millions and millions of marketing dollars."
Magazines produced and paid for by marketers are the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry. But for now, publishers don't see agencies as competition. Rather, some are hoping the ad world's interest will help grow the market.
"The more corporate America gets into custom publishing, the more custom publishing becomes a fundamental marketing tool," said Chris McMurry, chief operating officer of McMurry Publishing.
Currently, custom publishing brings in an estimated $500 million to $1 billion in ad revenue. It comprises about 5% of the nearly $10 billion a year spent on magazine advertising.
"I've always been blown away by the fact that agencies aren't all over this," said Dick Stockton, VP-general manager of Forbes Special Interest Publications. "They have art directors and copy directors and the whole infrastructure, but they've been slow to grab onto the idea."
The Publishing Agency intends to focus, at least initially, on McCann WorldGroup roster clients. The agency is already doing work for several clients, including GM's Buick. In fact, in a pitch for a marketer executives would not name, the Publishing Agency beat out five traditional publishers for the job.
"I think there will be a reaction," said Pamela Maphis Larrick, exec VP-regional director of McCann Relationship Marketing. "And if other agencies enter, it'll be interesting to see how they do it. It's a huge undertaking and you really have to make a commitment to it."
IPG's new unit will pull resources from both agencies and be housed under McCann Relationship Marketing. The Publishing Agency will use resources from both C-E Publishing, as well as have its own dedicated staff.
The Publishing Agency will be led by Mr. Cheyfitz and Leslie Singer, exec VP-chief creative officer and U.S. managing director. Mr. Cheyfitz was the director of publishing for C-E Publishing; Ms. Singer owned design company Singer AllBrand which IPG recently bought. Singer AllBrand will continue as a separate unit.
Management will report to a board headed by Chairman Louis Schultz, who is also vice chairman of Campbell-Ewald and president-CEO of C-E Communications; and