CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Revolution, the Chicago-based sports shop that longtime Anheuser-Busch marketer Bob Lachky joined this summer as a senior adviser, is launching a separate digital unit, rDigital, that will focus on social media, mobile and branded content. And it's snapped up another A-B exec to help advise it.
Bernie Plassmeyer, former digital group director at A-B, has also been added in a senior advisory role at Revolution. At A-B, Mr. Plassmeyer directed the strategic planning of the brewer's U.S. media assets -- as well as the company's moves into the digital space by holding the first digital-media position at A-B. He joins Mr. Lachky, the former A-B chief creative executive who helped to create some of the most memorable and iconic ad campaigns of the past two decades, on Revolution's board.
Digital isn't anything new to Revolution -- it's been working on digital programs in some capacity since the agency's inception in 2001. But it decided to launch the digital unit as a sort of "calling card," to make sure potential clients knew it could handle more than the standard offerings: sponsorships, rights management, event marketing.
"We're known in the industry as a traditional sports-marketing agency and we will continue to push the Revolution brand, but in the digital space we wanted to make sure there was less confusion, so tying it into rDigital it gives us more of a calling card," said Jim Spinello, Revolution's senior VP-marketing communications and head of rDigital. "We wanted to make sure our offerings got to the right person and they understood what it was about -- rather than have a full-service agency platform and a broad pitch right off the bat." The 50-person agency, which declined to disclose billings, plans on staffing for rDigital as new work comes in.
As for what the former A-B executives bring, he said: "You get a really good sense of what the heavy hitters in the industry are thinking. You get an inside look at how to circumnavigate the water within giant brands. Bernie has both traditional and digital buying experience. What we'll be able to focus on is the distribution of it. We'll have Bernie's expertise to be able to cut through clutter and get to a really targeted and relevant audience."
"Hopefully I can wear a lot of different hats as things are ramping up. Not only the strategy, planning and buying, but then helping [Revolution] craft their business offering for the clients and what they would find interesting and what would resonate with them," Mr. Plassmeyer said.
Revolution has done digital work for EA Games, Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN and Career Athletes, among others. Social-media work includes "EA Sports FIFA Takeover Tour" and "The NBA on ESPN RV Tour," where the agency created blog and video content chronicling the events. (Revolution also manages and executes both of those experiential marketing tours.)
Mr. Spinello said Revolution doesn't plan on making digital the focus of the entire agency, but did point out that "without a really good digital practice in this space, you're not at the top of your game."