Online reps rate the agencies

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Ever wondered what that rep really thinks of your agency? Reporter Jane Hodges asked online ad salespeople from sites large and small for their feedback. Stay tuned. In a future issue, we'll give the agencies a chance to sound off about the sites.
Anderson & Lembke
Pro:A savvy shop that has quickly built a smart, professional staff.
Con:Tends to focus too heavily on CPM instead of click-through and other metrics.
"They understand the medium well, but the difficulty comes in in that they're dealing with marketing managers on the client side that are still thinking in terms of reaching a mass audience instead of a targeted one."

"I think they're very demanding but very smart. They monitor the numbers very closely, track response levels closely and keep historical records. They also need reports in a very timely way. I'd rate them near the top."

BBDO Worldwide
Pro:Recognizes that interactive is part of the media mix, not a separate buy.
Con:Still not up to speed. Maybe their broadcast background is a hindrance.
"They're listening and learning. They're not there yet, but I think they'll get it right because they're doing [media buying] at a high level."

"In New York they're nice people, pleasant and fun, but because that shop does so much television they look at the Web as a broadcast model. They tend to ask those kinds of questions."

"I'm surprised they're not stronger than they are. A lot of talk and no action."

Leo Burnett USA
Pro:Solid thinking, top-notch clients like McDonald's, Oldsmobile and Kellogg.
Con:Has yet to unleash the media budgets of those top-notch clients on the Web.
"Giant Step [Burnett's interactive subsidiary] has some good thinking. Very interesting implementation, very solid. They're inconsistent, though; they do one or two good projects at a time."

"I know we've dealt directly with the client on McDonald's. Burnett is just pounding their chests a little bit. They really have to generate a lot of money to support the kind of payroll they need to run this."

CKS Group
Pro:Very production-oriented, with hot technology clients.
Con:Can you say attitude? This agency oozes with it.
"They seem to be a little slower than the average agency from the time you call to the time you begin working with them. I don't know if it's because of other clients or what."

"I'm not sure that their reputation will sustain them. They possess an air about them that speaks confidence, but I'm not sure they're doing amazing things. They need a client to give them a challenge, to get them out there again. I don't think they're as cutting-edge as they used to be."

Grey Advertising
Pro:Cost-per-click model.
Con:Cost-per-click model.
"I think they've boxed themselves in a corner. By taking the stance of only dealing on a click-through model, they've taken themselves out of the game for a lot more of the interesting uses of the medium. They're extremely agreeable, but you can never do a deal because they want the media to take too much risk too early in the game."

"They're really pushing the model with click-throughs. They've been open to ideas and encouraging, even though they have a specific model they want you to use. They've been willing to listen to adjustments to their model, though we're not working with them. I think that's really healthy."

Modem Media
Pro:Hip and savvy; tough but fair.
Con:That darn "Modem rate" they keep asking for.
"They're right on target. There's nothing negative I can say about them. I consider them the lead agency in the interactive field."

"They're very hard to work with. They have this notion that because they buy a lot of impressions, every single Modem client should get the same Modem rate. A company with multiple brands getting a rate isn't the same as company A getting it and company B, and these companies may not be buying the same amount of media. The hype may be a little ahead of their contribution."

Ogilvy & Mather
Pro:Has a good, but small, staff, and a great client in IBM.
Con:Can someone please help these people clean out their voicemail?n "Inconsistent. But when all is said and done, the interactive work that comes out of Ogilvy shows that a big agency can develop an interactive group that can do both big and small projects."
"The people they have are good, but there are only a few of them. O&M was the first to have an interactive group. Now you can't get them on the phone. I hope they make a real commitment to it, because they need some help."
Poppe Tyson
Pro:Strong office network; has built a lot of Web sites.
Con:Site creation business overshadows media buying.
"It's a little bit of a head-scratcher. They've built a lot of sites but haven't bought a lot of media. They're a little behind relative to where they should be."

"They're great at producing stuff, but they're not into the planning. I think they just build sites they can drive people to through traditional media. They have a lot of creative but aren't doing a lot of buying."

Young & Rubicam
Pro:Well-organized, accessible and fair.
Con:Interested, but not necessarily sold on the idea of Web advertising.
"I'm getting the sense that they're just starting to get involved in this stuff. I don't think they have a full effort going yet."'They're very good. Well organized. Accessible. They're able to conceive of more than direct response banner plans. They can conceive and get the work done.'

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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