"Amphibian succinctly defines and explains what it is we're doing here," said Drew Corry, a former TV buyer for Initiative who will serve as manager for the new unit, in a statement. "In nature, an amphibian lives comfortably on both water and land; Initiative's Amphibian will be staffed by skilled and experienced professionals who are equally comfortable in the world of analog and digital marketing."
Mr. Corry, 30, will be the "big toad" of the four dedicated Amphibian buyers who will dually report to Kris Magel, the agency's new senior VP-director of broadcast, and Phil Sloane, VP-interactive. Having more employees trained in both the TV and digital sides of the business will help improve the communication during the negotiation process and hopefully streamline it, Mr. Corry said.
"We'll be involved with every conversation as it's occurring, in the room with every negotiation, whether it's TV, podcasting or mobile video. It's about making sure there's a consistency," Mr. Corry said.
In a statement, Mr. Spengler added, "While of course we want everyone at Initiative to be comfortable in both analog and digital communications, Amphibian will be a specialized wing of our successful activation discipline."
Although the group has just now been named under the Amphibian umbrella, its objectives have already been carried out in a trio of recent deals for Initiative clients. For S.C. Johnson's Ziploc, for example, Amphibian created a program with NBC's "The Biggest Loser" to promote healthy eating, using on-air integrations and billboard ads as well as a co-branded widget online. For Big Lots, which acted as a charter sponsor for the gaming section of USA Network's usatv.com, the group devised co-branded TV promos plugging the retailer's own branded games on the website, which integrated some of USA's popular characters. Comcast's E! Network also paired with the group for a recent on-air partnership with Las Vegas News, for which Amphibian created its own reports on mobile video, broadband video, video on-demand and video podcasts.
"If there's passionate fans with something on TV that are going to want to carry the experience to more granular avenues, it makes sense to be along for the ride and continue that association," Mr. Corry added.