Mike Samet, exec VP-director of media and new technology at Y&R Advertising, will become CEO of the unit, which opens with 140 employees and $21 million in revenue from clients including AT&T Corp., Cadbury Beverages, Kraft Foods and the U.S. Army.
It will be headquartered in New York, with offices in Detroit, Miami and San Francisco. Overseas offices will be in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.
The move precedes an expected consolidation of Y&R's media units (AA, July 28). Y&R decided to brand new-media separately, despite its interest in integrated communications, because of its growing importance in the industry, said Ed Vick, chairman-CEO of the Y&R/WCJ Partnership, the joint operating entity that unites Y&R and Wunderman.
"In these days, you can't really separate out the new technology from the core competencies of an advertising company," Mr. Vick said.
Brand Dialogue will be a platform to boost new technology and capabilities, he said, adding that there are no specific plans to acquire other shops though he did not rule that out.
"There are plans to build our capabilities in interactive branding and commerce . . . This is a major step in doing that, rather than have an operation where one piece is an offshoot of [Y&R] Advertising and one piece is an offshoot of Wunderman."
"Because we haven't branded it, we haven't gotten credit for the . . . over $20 million in revenues there. [It's] a very big operation" already, Mr. Vick said.