Lowe goes Live with launch of digital network

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Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe Group is turning its attention to developing marketing services with a global digital and CRM network, Lowe Live, to be unveiled this week. Later, it will follow with a global sales-promotion network under the Zipatoni banner.

Lowe Live's chairman will be Floyd Miller, who moved to New York in October from San Francisco, where he was president of Miller/Huber Relationship Marketing, acquired by Lowe in September 1999. Initially, Lowe Live will operate in the U.S. and seven other countries in Europe and Asia and will consist of businesses that are already part of the Lowe Group.

"Many markets have already started [customer relationship management] capability," said Mr. Miller, who favors bright Hawaiian shirts. "Some have direct or interactive. Now it's a matter of bringing it all together under a common vision and philosophy." Lowe is expected to disclose details, including initial size and billings for Lowe Live, in this week's announcement.

In the U.K., Lowe Direct, Head New Media and e-business consultancy Decipher are all owned by Lowe and will become part of Lowe Live. In the U.S., Lowe Digital and Lowe Direct will both be folded into Lowe Live. U.S. clients include Heineken, British Airways, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever. Some clients are already asking for international proposals, he said.

The Zipatoni agency, run by President Jim Holbrook, will be the core of an international sales-promotion business built around the St. Louis sales-promotion shop Lowe bought in 1999. For the last year, all the sales-promotion companies Lowe has bought have been told they will be required to change their names to Zipatoni. The agency's biggest client is Miller Brewing Co.; others include Energizer Co. and Bacardi USA.


The international development of Zipatoni and Lowe Live was delayed by the November 1999 merger between Lowe & Partners Worldwide and Ammirati Puris Lintas, which has absorbed management's attention in the last year, especially in the U.S.

Zipatoni had gross income of $21.5 million in 1999, according to Advertising Age. The company's headquarters are in St. Louis, but Zipatoni also set up a joint agency with Lowe Lintas in Chicago in March 2000. The agency was set up when Lowe Lintas closed its own Chicago office after losing

its main client, Ameritech Corp., whose parent SBC Communications shifted advertising to Omnicom Group's GSD&M in Austin, Texas.

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