TBWA's new unit to chase retail

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TBWA Chiat/Day is setting up a new agency--dubbed TBD, the Unagency--to chase retail ad accounts, initially in the U.S. and possibly in global markets later.

The full-service agency starts with Nissan Motor Corp. USA's $100 million regional account and Home Savings of America's retail account, both offshoots of the national Nissan and Home Savings business that is handled by TBWA.

But Tom Patty, chairman-CEO of the new retail shop, said he expects 90% of its accounts to come from new clients who wouldn't have considered hiring TBWA in the past. 'AMBITIOUS PLANS'

"I have very ambitious plans," he said. "There's a huge opportunity" in the U.S. and "maybe larger potential" internationally.

The Unagency has not yet been formally announced but has already landed its first new outside clients--two Nissan dealers--and is talking with other potential clients, including an unidentified sporting goods retailer.

One such account known to be in review is Sports Authority, resigned last month by Ross Roy Communications, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., although it's not clear if The Unagency is pursuing this business.

The Unagency will be headquartered in Venice, Calif., and starts with seven offices that have been doing regional retail advertising for Nissan since the marketer consolidated its regional account in 1988 at what was then Chiat/Day.

Besides Venice, the other offices are in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, San Francisco and Jacksonville, Fla.

Mr. Patty said the Unagency will be his "night job." The 20-year Chiat/Day veteran will keep his "day job" as TBWA president-worldwide Nissan account director. Tony Stern, creative director on Nissan regional advertising, will be The Unagency's creative director.

TBWA is giving a separate identity to the new agency (TBD stands for "To Be Determined") to underscore that it's a separate venture. Mr. Patty likened TBWA to a "hammer" pounding away at big national ad campaigns, but he said the perception has been that TBWA wasn't interested in or equipped to do retail advertising.

The Unagency, staffed by retail specialists, will be a "screwdriver," Mr. Patty said, with the ability to turn retail sales.

"We want to be faster, cheaper and better in terms of the needs of retail clients," he said. "Most agencies play at the speed of baseball. We want to play at the speed of basketball."

Copyright August 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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