How the egg was poached

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Ed Ney, chairman emeritus of Young & Rubicam, is the eggman. Back in 1972, when he was president of Y&R International, he made an internal agency announcement that was way ahead of its time. He uttered what is today recognized as one of the first calls to marketing integration: "The Whole Egg."

"Our idea was to go horizontal," Mr. Ney said, "or have an integrated offering to our clients. That meant we wanted to be in public relations, direct marketing, medical and sales promotion. And during the course of the next two years we got most of those." In 1973, the agency purchased Sudler & Hennessey, a health care communications agency, and Wunderman, Ricotta & Kline, a direct response agency. The following year it picked up Creswell, Munsell, Schubert, a leading agricultural agency.

Y&R executives got the idea from creative inconsistencies between Goodyear's television advertising, which Y&R was working on, and its print ads in newspapers hawking tire sales, which were done by an outside direct shop. "We realized that [clients like Goodyear] were all doing some sort of PR, sales promotion, or a direct thing. So what if we bring these companies together and give them the kind of quality of Y&R advertising? That was our spiel. And someone nicknamed it the whole egg," Mr. Ney said.

To underscore its dedication to this new integrated approach, the venerable shop even dropped "advertising" from its name. It became simply Young & Rubicam. "When we took the `advertising' off," Mr. Ney said, "I got a call from Ray Rubicam that nearly blew up this building. He said, `What are you doing?"' The name was eventually restored.

In 1979, the agency cemented its strategy with the acquisition of Marsteller Advertising, PR agency Burson-Marsteller and Chapman Direct Marketing, a New York agency specializing in business-to-business direct response.

The whole egg is long gone. Y&R poached the egg and put it in a new shell: a division of its own called Brand Buzz.

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