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To date, interactive exploration at Earle Palmer Brown has been largely limited to dispatching a handful of agency people to interactive seminars and using online services to communicate with clients.

That's beginning to change. The Bethesda, Md.-based agency set up a four-person task force in June to study interactive opportunities, an effort headed by Bill Bergman, chairman of EPB's Richmond, Va., office. The agency hopes to identify business opportunies by the end of the year.

Its consideration has been sparked by interest from current and prospective clients, including America Online, an advertising account the agency pitched early this year but didn't win.

In addition to fielding queries from clients USAir and Blue Cross/Blue Shield-both are interested in advertising on Prodigy-EPB President Mike Gaffney said prospective clients in three recent new-business pitches have asked executives about the agency's views on interactive media.

"I don't remember [interactive TV] ever being mentioned by a client before," Mr. Gaffney said. "Everyone is excited and curious about it."

Although Mr. Gaffney said he believes interactivity will radically change the advertising business, EPB is not in the logjam of agencies speeding into the fray.

Indeed, Mr. Gaffney contends that advertising agencies have less to worry about than the media, which will change first. Ad agencies, he said, will then have to adapt their information to the technology.

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