As part of its international plan, Mullen last year hired London-based Niall Blatcher, a former D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles account director, to look after EMC's advertising in Europe.
The London shop working with Mullen, called World Writers, started as a copy adaptation service but now operates more as an ad agency.
"I suggested we look for a creative shop that specialized in international and an international media specialist so we could be flexible to suit different clients without the cost of partnering with a full-service agency," said Mr. Blatcher of the arrangement. "It's more efficient."
EMC ads broke last week in business and financial publications, and will run in 35 countries.
EMC spends about $20 million annually on advertising.
To plan and buy media, Mullen hired Mediapolis, a European media-buying company that is a joint venture between Young & Rubicam and Euro RSCG. Mullen, with billings of about $250 million, previously worked with different local agencies in Europe and will continue to do so in Asia.
Simon Anholt, founder and managing director of World Writers, had worked with Mr. Blatcher at global agency networks, and the two share the belief that adapting international campaigns often gets short shrift at a large network's local offices.
"It's an opportunity to take work developed here and make sure it's executed with the same creative intensity, with the right tone of voice for each country," said Bob Pagano, Mullen senior VP-group account director. "That's the single most important thing for us. Agencies with very strong creative work face the issue of how does that work play in different cultures."
SELLING INT'L CLIENTS
Mullen and World Writers hope their painstaking efforts in creating ads together will have international appeal for some of Mullen's other clients, including Stanley Works, Agfa-Gevaert and Dexter Shoe Co.
"I see it as a model partnership setup that could be very appealing," Mr. Blatcher said.
How to handle the growing need to do international work to keep existing clients and win new ones can be a major dilemma for many independent U.S. shops.
Minneapolis-based Fallon McElligott and Portland, Ore.-based Wieden & Kennedy have opened their own offices in London recently. Wieden also opened an office in Amsterdam earlier to service the Nike account in Europe.
Some independents have joined networks of like-minded local agencies, such as Rollinsville, Colo.-based Icon, run by Gary Burandt, a former top international