Rubin's mission at iDeutsch helm: Create 'single vision'

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The new head of iDeutsch brings more than two decades of diverse marketing experience to his post.

Fred Rubin, who joins the Deutsch interactive unit as exec VP-director the week of July 24, has more than 15 years of agency experience including stints at the New York offices of TBWA/Chiat/Day and Hill Holliday, as well as marketer experience running his own consultancy.

"I've had many different incarnations over the last several years," said Mr. Rubin, who will oversee the suburban Los Angeles and New York offices of iDeutsch. "I have the background in general, direct and interactive" marketing.

LESSONS LEARNED

Mr. Rubin, whose primary residence will be in New York, also brings firsthand knowledge of the client side. Most recently, he was VP-marketing at Drinks.com, an Illinois-based alcohol e-tail site with ambitions to be "the Amazon.com of drinks and spirits," Mr. Rubin said.

His Drinks.com stint lasted only 10 months, he said, adding that "the business was hard to crack because of regulatory issues." But Mr. Rubin said he garnered vital knowledge while there--especially in customer acquisition and brand building.

However, the most important lesson learned was that business is extremely personal in the interactive arena.

"Now that I've been on the other side, there's a new awareness of the stakes for most of these guys," he said. "Being inside an e-commerce business [helped my] understanding of the complexities of the business--especially in the dot-com world where everybody is working for a piece of the action."

Mr. Rubin joins Deutsch as the agency tries to redefine its 5-year-old interactive unit, which services clients such as Ikea, Pfizer and Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America.

"I wanted a real visionary" to run the unit, said Deutsch CEO Donny Deutsch.

Mr. Rubin said he's up for the job's challenges. "Donny's first charge to me is: 'What can we be? Where should we go? And can you build it?'" said Mr. Rubin. "He's putting his money where his heart is. He's willing to back it up."

SPEEDY GROWTH

IDeutsch has been growing fast, rising to No. 30 on Advertising Age's Interactive 100 roster, up from 41 a year earlier.

In the past year, Peter Drakoulias, director of business development, and Valerie DiFebo, director of account management, oversaw the unit on an interim basis. Adam Levine, now a brand director at Deutsch, headed the unit from 1997 to 1999. The agency's most recent creative director, Kevin Drew Davis, left after about six months to return to Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.

"[IDeutsch] has never really had a single vision attached to it," Mr. Rubin said. "My job will be to run this thing and figure out how high is up."

Copyright July 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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