O&M taps Sandom in wake of interactive revamp

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J. Sandom's first weeks on the job at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide could be busy if the agency lands a chunk of fresh interactive work from Eastman Kodak Co.'s consumer imaging unit.

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Appointed last week as senior partner and head of O&M's interactive services, Mr. Sandom's task is to lead a business that was once a standalone unit but now is spread throughout the agency. Ironically, Mr. Sandom left D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, last year when his standalone interactive unit was folded into the general agency.

O&M began working on an Image Magic site for Kodak last fall and will hear within the next few weeks if it has won additional business from the client.

TWO-MONTH SEARCH

O&M's appointment of Mr. Sandom to succeed Michael Troiano caps a two-month search for an executive to lead the repositioning. Mr. Troiano left last summer to join Cunniff Interactive Agency, New York.

"I was unhappy with the positioning we had for interactive," said O&M Direct CEO Wendy Riches, to whom Mr. Sandom reports. "We had been in danger of treating interactive as something rare and strange . . . [when] it can be the heartland of direct marketing."

Mr. Sandom co-founded Einstein & Sandom in 1984 as one of the country's first interactive shops. DMB&B acquired the agency in 1994. Last July, DMB&B folded the unit and deployed its staff throughout the agency.

"We're much more integrated now . . . and will require additional people" to staff business, Mr. Sandom said. O&M Interactive reported $4 million in revenues for 1995. Of the 40 employees there this past summer, four left and four were transferred inside the general agency in August. There are now about 20 employees with interactive expertise.

PITCHING AMEX

O&M must work hard, and quickly, to secure client confidence and bump up its new business. The talks with Kodak are a step in that direction, as are efforts by the agency to rejuvenate its position with key client American Express Corp.

"We're certainly talking to American Express about some new work" on the interactive front, Ms. Riches said.

However, an AmEx spokeswoman said the company has no plans to make major shifts in assignments on its interactive roster, which includes Wunderman Cato Johnson, Agency.com and others.

EINSTEIN DEPARTS

Mr. Sandom isn't the only name in Einstein & Sandom making moves. Jeff Einstein, his former partner, in December quietly left SiteSpecific, New York, after six months as director of programming for an in-house content syndication group.

"Jeff left us on amicable terms," said SiteSpecific President Seth Goldstein. "We're folding this offering into our general client services. As we started focusing more on our advertising clients, we saw that what Jeff was here to develop was content."

Mr. Einstein said he plans to consult in new media.

Contributing: Laura Petrecca, Kate Fitzgerald.

Copyright January 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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