ADAGE.COM SPECIAL: McCann solidifies global positioning for direct

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McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, last week named its new international direct services group led by Chairman-CEO Stanley Rapp MRM WorldGroup.

The "MRM" stands for McCann Relationship Marketing. MRM is McCann's newest "corridor," or worldwide agency unit, identified by the agency's Chairman-CEO John Dooner as part of his growth strategy for McCann. The agency's six global management sectors include MRM, McCann-Erickson Worldwide, McCann Direct, event marketing, healthcare and public relations.

Stanley Rapp, a co-founder of Rapp Collins Worldwide, joined McCann last month after spending the past eight years lecturing, consulting and writing about direct marketing. He said of MRM that "the [general] agency builds the brand ... [MRM] will build relationship brands that sit alongside that brand."

To distinguish between brands and "relationship brands," he used American Airlines and Nestle's Butoni pasta brand as examples. American Airlines is a brand, he said, while AA Advantage is a relationship brand providing perks and miles for airline customers; Butoni is a pasta brand, but the Casa Butoni Club is a community surrounding it.

"One of the forms of advertising [McCann wants to produce] is voluntary advertising--advertising that consumers go out of their way to request," he said of the relationship brands. "Are we talking about direct? Are we talking about brands? We still have the vocabulary of the 80s, but marketing is changing," he added, explaining how affinity and companion brands will increasingly arise to build loyalty to a core brand.

On a global scale, both Mr. Rapp and Pamela Larrick, McCann's exec VP-managing director for the agency's North American direct operations (and one of four global direct managers now reporting to Mr. Rapp), cited work by Cathay Pacific Airlines in southeast Asia as the kind of work they'd like to begin doing abroad for their clients.

The regional airline, through a partnership with Malaysian Airlines and Singapore Airlines, launched last year a program called Passages to co-promote all three airlines and the related travel advantages they bring across different markets. and to bring all three partners an expanded client base.

In a related move to strengthen McCann Direct's global strengths, the agency has identified "centers of excellence" for different direct disciplines around the globe. The MRM WorldGroup oversees McCann Direct, and the core direct techniques that many advertisers choose to use. The centers include Tokyo, Japan and Manchester, England, for catalog marketing; New Delhi, India, for custom publishing; New York and Caracas, Venezuela, for telemarketing; and New York for database marketing.

"There are other centers we're developing right now. We're looking at five acquisition possibilities," said Ms. Larrick. While Ms. Larrick declined to name specific countries, she said these centers would be established in South America, Europe and Southeast Asia. She also said that within each region localized centers of excellence will be established to suit clients who want to target within different local regions.

Copyright November 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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