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Looking to bolster its presence among high-tech marketers, Morgan, Anderson & Co. is opening a San Francisco office to boost its share of the booming agency search business.

The New York-based consultancy has rented office space and is planning within the next few months to transfer John Florida, an ex-J. Walter Thompson Co. executive in Latin America, to run the operation. Mr. Florida has been heading Morgan Anderson's Mexico City office since it opened in `94.


The move is an apparent reaction to the plethora of West Coast agency reviews that has led to the success and growth of competitor Select Resources International, West Hollywood, Calif.

SRI, headed by former Grey Advertising executive Mike Agate, recently has handled reviews ranging from the City of Los Angeles' Department of Water & Power to Sega of America, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Like SRI, one of Morgan Anderson's strongest suits is the high-tech field. It is consulting with Compaq Computer Corp. and handled Digital Equipment Corp.'s 1994 review.

With the exception of Mr. Agate's shop, Mike Marsak's Effective Marketing Strategies in Marina del Rey, Calif., and a few others, much of the West Coast search consulting business is a "a cottage industry with people doing one-ons," said one industry executive.

Morgan Anderson "is looking at the West Coast as a premier prospect," the executive said.

Morgan Anderson was founded in 1985 by Lee Anne Morgan, who has worked at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and DDB Needham Worldwide. Two years later, Arthur Anderson, partner and now her ex-husband, joined the business.

Morgan Anderson has conducted a wide range of reviews for clients including Eli Lilly & Co., Heineken USA, Kmart Corp., Sears, Roebuck & Co., BMW of North America and General Motors Corp.'s Saturn subsidiary. Currently, it is handling the review for MasterCard International.


SRI, meanwhile, has established a search process based on the "agency register" concept, in which agencies pay about $5,000 to have a reel and portfolio maintained in the SRI files. SRI clients are able to review the estimated 120 agency member reels and materials before developing a list of agencies making the first round. Agencies not on the register and chosen by the client also may be included.

One of the key differences between the styles of the two companies is that SRI does not sit in on final pitch presentations, while Morgan Anderson has a reputation for being present and heavily involved in the final selection.

"Many [consultants] get in the way of the process," said David Lubars, CEO-chief creative officer, BBDO West, Los Angeles, speaking of consultants in general. Mr. Agate "seems to have figured out how to help the client without" that failing.

Contributing: Bradley Johnson.

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