True North Communications' announcement last week that it had acquired Stein Rogan & Partners spun the acquisition as a move to beef up the holding company's interactive arsenal, akin to previous acquisitions of R/GA Interactive and a 50% stake in Modem Media-Poppe Tyson. But a ledger of dot-com clients does not an interactive agency make. Stein said 15 of its 20 clients are dot-coms. "We build the brand from the ground up, using integration of online and offline" advertising, said Tom Stein, president of the New York-based agency. But what agency these days doesn't play in dot-coms? For example, TBWA/Chiat/Day has 13 dot-com clients, and New York agencies Deutsch, Gotham and Grey Advertising have been stacking up dot-com business.
Industry insiders say the bidding war for online ad network 24/7 Media, New York, continues. The likely suitor at this point: CMGI. Bill White, CMGI's president-marketing and strategic operations, Internet group, declined comment. A spokeswoman from 24/7 also declined comment.
Online jobs site Kforce.com, owned by Romac International, named Beyond Interactive, Ann Arbor, Mich., its first online ad agency. Kforce plans a multimillion-dollar online direct marketing and branding campaign in the next few months.
Copyright December 1999, Crain Communications Inc.