Wunderman intensifies attention on promotion

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As wunderman cato Johnson touts its integrated marketing strategy to clients, it's also focusing more attention on events and promotions, a side of the business often overshadowed by the legacy of Wunderman's direct work.

The Young & Rubicam unit has named Neil Contess, 40, to the new post of president, WCJ Promotions Worldwide. His goal is to coordinate the company's promotional work under one global umbrella.

Wunderman's aim is to combine its marketing expertise to provide clients a customer-focused end-to-end marketing solution through Mr. Contess, who in October left his senior managing partner position at Dugan Valva Contess, a Morristown, N.J., promotion agency with $250 million in billings. At Wunderman, his charge is to include promotion as an important component of its integrated marketing plans.


"What happened over the years is the Wunderman and direct marketing part of the business dwarfed the promotions," Mr. Contess said, adding he's pleased Wunderman CEO Jay Bingle decided to reinvigorate the promotions business.

With the new marketing approach being espoused by Mr. Bingle, it became clear that the promotional businesses within Wunder- man needed to be united globally, said Eric Larsen, president of WCJ North America.

"When we make client presentations today, while we can and do disaggregate the services, we don't make a one-dimensional presentation," Mr. Larsen said. "We talk about the [customer relationship management] framework and how [Wunderman's] services can be plugged into a marketing plan. Customers are at the center of the universe and experience a brand through general brand marketing, direct, promotions and events, teleservices, the Internet, etc."


Mr. Contess said his first job is to get a handle on promotions programs now under way within the company in 43 countries at 81 shops.

"The thing that is important to note is we are doing great promotions work right now as an organization," he said, mentioning Wunderman's "Rugrats" promotion for Ford's Lincoln Mercury Co., which tied ads for the Villager minivan to the popular children's movie, and its organization of promotional music tours for Sears, Roebuck & Co. featuring Celine Dion and the Back Street Boys.

"I think that the next logical evolution is to leverage the capabilities that we have and scale it up on a global basis," he noted.

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