There are two faces to Young & Rubicam's interactive work: the brand-building efforts by Y&R's advertising arm; and the direct marketing emphasis of Wunderman Cato Johnson. Both are just starting to show themselves.
Wunderman a year ago last July installed Greg Stuart as VP-director of interactive marketing, while Y&R in June brought in an outsider, Michael Samet, as director of media and new technologies. He was formerly director of strategic planning for Whittle Communications.
"We are enthusiastic about the potential of all of the new technologies, but you have to be careful about how you get involved," Mr. Samet said. "We are saying to our clients that there is learning to be had. It is appropriate to learn when the learning is inexpensive and when there are relationships to be fostered."
Y&R claims to be the first agency to negotiate a Prodigy editorial sponsorship (a two-year project for AT&T that ended earlier this year) and also developed a fax-on-demand service (again, for AT&T).
But at the same time, the agency acknowledges that aside from a team of two media department executives operating as VisionMedia, VP-Group Media Supervisor Anthony Manson and Manager Jeff Ratner, it doesn't have a consolidated interactive task force, as many other agencies have established.
Y&R's Toronto office, meanwhile, has been active in placing client Ford Motor Co. on Groupe Videotron's Videoway system in Quebec and plans to involve several clients in Videotron's next-generation UBI system scheduled to start up in northern Quebec in 1995.
Both Wunderman and Y&R are also staking a claim on Time Warner's Full Service Network: Wunderman for the U.S. Postal Service and Y&R for Holiday Inn.
Wunderman and Y&R say they're looking into virtually every other interactive platform-save virtual reality-but won't say for which clients. While they maintain separate interactive agendas for now, both agencies say the interactive work could be combined at some point.