Agencies prepare for busy fall

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Heading into the busy fall advertising season, many b-to-b marketers are planning to increase budgets and launch new campaigns to promote new products, services or positionings.

TNS projects that ad spending in the fourth quarter will be up 4.5% over ad spending in the fourth quarter of 2004.

Among those advertisers launching new campaigns this fall are the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, DHL Express USA, FedEx Corp., NEC-Mitsubishi and Secure Computing Corp.

"Clients are spending," said David Apicella, co-creative director at Ogilvy & Mather, New York.

This fall Ogilvy will launch a new campaign for DHL that moves beyond the theme of "Competition," a rebranding effort introduced last year that positioned the shipping company against competitors FedEx and United Parcel Service of America.

The integrated campaign, which focuses on customer service, will include TV, print and online, Apicella said.

In addition, Ogilvy will introduce new executions of campaigns for clients including IBM Corp. and American Express Co.

FedEx will launch an ad campaign that will kick off this fall with the National Football League season, said Steve Pacheco, director of advertising at FedEx. The campaign is being developed by BBDO New York.

"We have been a longtime NFL partner and service provider, and we'll activate the sponsorship with TV, print, online and radio," Pacheco said. He declined to give specifics about the campaign or its budget.

Sue Harrison, exec VP at Davis Harrison Dion, a Chicago-based agency, also said business is picking up for the fall.

"Budgets are up overall," she said, noting that media budgets are rising more than 20%.

"Clients are really looking to invest more in market research," she added. "We have to spend smarter and be more accountable. We have good metrics, and we need to direct spending more efficiently and effectively."

In September Davis Harrison Dion is launching a new campaign for the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau. The effort builds on a campaign that broke last year for McCormick Place West, a new facility that will open in 2008 next to the existing McCormick Place convention center on Chicago's lakefront.

The campaign is targeted at large associations and independent trade shows, which typically book space two to three years in advance for conventions, Harrison said.

"Associations and meetings have changed significantly in the last few years," she said. "It is not just about huge trade shows with lots of floor space. There is a greater need for meeting rooms and breakup spaces."

McCormick Place West is designed with more breakout rooms and meeting rooms to accommodate this need, Harrison said.

The campaign, themed "The place," will run in association and meeting publications such as Associations Now (formerly Association Management), Convene, Association Meetings and Medical Meetings.

In addition, a broad national campaign will run in The Wall Street Journal, promoting Chicago as a destination for business travelers.

Mobium Creative Group, Chicago, is also launching several new campaigns for clients this fall.

"In terms of our clients and prospects, there is a lot of activity moving into the fourth quarter," said Guy Gangi, partner at Mobium.

The agency will introduce an integrated rebranding campaign for NEC-Mitsubishi, which manufactures computer monitors and visual display systems, including print, online, events and collateral.

"We are seeing a lot of movement toward the branding side, not just product advertising," Gangi said. "There is more confidence to do more brand communications as the economy improves."

Gangi added that when clients cut costs during the recession and focused on product advertising to drive sales, branding took a bit of a hit.

The agency is also developing three or four campaigns for new clients, whom Gangi declined to identify.

Gordon Hochhalter, partner at Mobium, said one trend he's seeing is more senior management involvement in ad agency relationships.

"With three of our new clients, a lot of the activity was driven by CEOs and presidents of companies," Hochhalter said. "Senior managers used to depend on sales forces for brand marketing, and sales forces are doing a lousy job with that. Brand advertising offers senior managers a way to get the sales force to differentiate the company and brand in a consistent way."

Greg Strakosch, co-founder and CEO of media company TechTarget, said, "The money is really migrating to areas where you can deliver, prove and measure ROI. Things are shifting from traditional media to the Web."

He said a big trend is integrating everything through print, events and online, and having the whole process managed by a client consulting team.

TechTarget will unveil several integrated campaigns for technology clients this fall. One of those is Secure Computing, which will introduce a campaign using online, print, events, white papers, a vendor webcast and online conferences.

A key to successful integrated campaigns, Strakosch said, is having ROI objectives that are measured throughout the campaign.

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