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Leo Burnett Co.'s Starcom Worldwide and Starcom IP divisions are opening an office in San Francisco in a bid to benefit from the new-media frenzy. It is the first full-service media office to be opened by Starcom in the U.S. outside its Chicago headquarters.

Starcom IP -- short for Internet Protocol -- is already on track to place $40 million to $50 million in cyber-ads for about 15 clients this year, including Kellogg Co. and Miller Brewing Co. To date, though, Starcom IP has few Web clients. The most notable is Launch Media, parent company of music site Launch.com.


Rishad Tobaccowala, president of Starcom IP, will not relocate to San Francisco, although some senior staffers from both Starcom IP and Starcom are expected to make the trek west. Plans call for the office to ramp up to about 25 staffers, and Starcom has been quietly talking to media talent in San Francisco.

A Burnett spokesman confirmed Starcom and Starcom IP are opening an office in San Francisco.

"It's a smart move," said a media executive at a San Francisco agency. "Starcom is hot, and if they want to be a serious player with the dot-coms, this is the place to be."

Besides its media buying capabilities, part of Starcom's pitch these days that marketers have found seductive is its strategic planning abilities. Starcom also will tout to new-media marketers its expertise in traditional media, a key marketing tool for many online companies.

Burnett also owns a majority interest in digital agency Giant Step, Chicago, but

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