McCann's relationship marketing unit lands in Europe

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DUESSELDORF -- Last October McCann-Erickson Worldwide, the world's second largest advertising agency network, formed a new global unit called McCann Relationship Marketing ( MRM), with the aim of building an organization that went beyond offering traditional direct marketing services. Now MRM has made its first acquisition in Europe by taking a 75% stake in one of Germany's largest relationship marketing agencies, Scherer Team.

Relationship marketing is one of five "communications corridors" that McCann Chairman-CEO John Dooner identified last autumn as an area of global focus for the company. The others are traditional advertising, event marketing, healthcare and public relations. McCann recruited as chairman-CEO of the new MRM WorldGroup Stanley Rapp, former head of Rapp Collins Worldwide, the largest U.S. direct response agency. Relationship marketing encompasses customer loyalty programs such as airline frequent flier clubs or Nestle's Casa Buitoni Club consumers who cook with its pasta brand.

Scherer Team, with headquarters in Starnberg, and offices in Duesseldorf and Berlin, had a 1996 gross income of $7.6m. Its main clients include General Motors' German car subsidiary Opel and Sony. The agency will be renamed Scherer Team MRM. It's expected that the group will open a new office in Frankfurt into which McCann's existing direct marketing unit will be integrated.

"Relationship marketing is one of the fastest growing sectors within the communications industry. By acquiring Scherer Team, McCann-Erickson becomes one of the top players in Germany within this segment," says Willi Schalk, Chairman of McCann-Erickson Germany.

Scherer Team founder Monika Scherer remains with the agency as general manager and takes on the newly-created position of MRM European regional director. Ms Scherer and Mr Rapp will be responsible for expanding MRM throughout Europe.

"For years I have admired the strategic thinking, creative output and world-class database management of the Scherer Team in German," says Stan Rapp.

Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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