Ketchum will shutter interactive division

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With Omnicom now in charge, agency divides work among its regional offices

Ketchum Communications is closing Ketchum Interactive Worldwide and will divide new-media responsibilities among the agency's various divisions.

The move comes as Omnicom Group nears completion of its Ketchum acquisition, expected June 1. Omnicom spreads interactive work among agencies, leaving no role for a Ketchum corporate interactive function.

MOVE WAS PLANNED

But Lynn Upshaw, exec VP-brand marketing at Ketchum Advertising Worldwide and managing director of Ketchum Interactive, said that even before the Omnicom deal Ketchum was planning to dissolve the interactive unit by next year.

"We spent three years talking about Ketchum Interactive and attracting clients to it," Mr. Upshaw said. "What we found was where the rubber hits the road is in local offices."

Barry Layne, VP-director of Ketchum Interactive in Los Angeles, left March 31.

Ketchum began its new-media work in 1991 and formed the interactive division in 1993.

STAFFERS TRANSFER

Ketchum Advertising's San Francisco office all along has integrated interactive, where Senior VP Bob Johnson will continue to oversee the work. In Los Angeles, VP Paul Ratsky will head up the interactive function.

The two offices employ about 20 people devoted to interactive work.

Most of Ketchum Interactive's Los Angeles and San Francisco staffers transferred to the general agency.

Mr. Upshaw is giving up his interactive title but will continue to advise on interactive work.

Mr. Layne said he fully endorses spreading interactive across Ketchum's ad, PR and specialty advertising divisions.

"The notion of an interactive agency in general is nonsense," he said. "One of the lessons for agencies is segmentation doesn't work. New media has to be integrated into the business."

Copyright April 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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