Net working: Stubbs creates contacts from S.F.

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After three years in Asia as Euro RSCG Worldwide's regional interactive media director, Ruth Stubbs wanted a tougher, global challenge with key clients -- and she specified a San Francisco address. In fact, she turned down a job offer in New York from Euro RSCG.

To keep a top talent, the agency and its parent, Havas Advertising, sent Ms. Stubbs, 34, to the West Coast in July to open the new San Francisco office of Media Contacts, an online media specialist just entering the U.S. market. Ms. Stubbs' new title is West Coast director.

Media Contacts is part of Media Planning Group, a Madrid-based international media independent that is 45% owned by Havas. MPG is Havas' attempt to create an international media brand, but until now Media Contacts has operated mostly in Spanish-speaking countries.

"San Francisco tends to be the hub for some of the dot-coms," Ms. Stubbs said. "A lot of my Asian clients are looking to move to San Francisco. And when people look to move into the Asian market from the U.S., they do it from here."

OFFICES PROLIFERATE

Media Contacts opened in New York earlier this year in the offices of Media Planning SFM, also the parent of SFM Media. A Miami office -- headed by the former managing director of Media Contacts' Mexico City office, Pilar Gargallo -- will be set up this fall as a Latin American hub.

A New York office "is a necessary evil, because of New York's focus on traditional media," Ms. Stubbs said.

In Hong Kong, she gained fame as an interactive advertising innovator through her work for top clients such as Intel Corp. and Philips Consumer Electronics.

Her achievements included a labor-intensive "beyond the banner" initiative for Intel with Yahoo! Asia. If a search query was related to computers or the Internet, the marketing program generated editorial-style ad columns with tips, facts and Intel links beside the results.

For Philips, she developed interactive campaigns integrating Time Inc.'s print, broadcast and online titles and combined broadcast media with the Internet for an interactive program called `Philips One on One' on Channel [V], a leading Asian music satellite channel.

When Ms. Stubbs, an Australian, left Hong Kong for San Francisco in July, she was nearly seven months pregnant with her first child and just barely able to legally board an international flight.

This week, she starts a six-week maternity leave, followed by six weeks of working from home with forays into the office. "I'm here till Friday [Sept. 15]," Ms. Stubbs said cheerfully last week from her office -- two days before her due date.

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