's Costello opts for 'fast, flexible' shop

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Wayne Gretzky was nimble. John Elway, flexible. Michael Jordan, simply good.

So when marketing veteran John Costello put together a marketing team for, an online venture selling high-end outdoor and sporting goods, he wanted an ad agency with those skills.

"The principles of a good agency partnership are the same" for traditional companies and for online entities, said Mr. Costello, president-CEO of MVP, who from 1993 to '98 controlled Sears, Roebuck and Co.'s $1.5 billion-plus marketing budget.


"The key differences are in speed and flexibility," he said. "The competitive nature of e-commerce requires an agency which is good and fast and flexible."

Mr. Costello, who worked with Y&R Advertising and Ogilvy & Mather in New York and Chicago as Sears' senior exec VP-marketing, said he never considered larger shops for the anticipated $50 million MVP account. Instead, he stayed with Leagas Delaney, San Francisco, the agency for, a sports goods e-tailer bought by MVP.

He wasn't disappointed. Thanks to fancy footwork, including well-known director Joe Pytka changing his schedule, a spot featuring the three athletes (and MVP directors) went from a concept decision Dec. 15 to unveiling at a news conference where MVP officially launched Jan. 26.

The spot aired on the Super Bowl pre-game. But Mr. Elway scored big when he dropped the company's name in a sideline interview during ABC's broadcast of the game.

Copyright February 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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