Time Warner unit recast as idea shop

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Its new boss and key lieutenants firmly in place, Time Warner's cross-platform sales unit Global Marketing will now morph into a creative ad shop working with the media giant's properties.

Don Logan, chairman of Time Warner's Media & Communications Group, made it very clear that he expected a big bang from the new unit. "In my own mind, this division will not be doing its job unless it generates literally hundreds of millions of dollars of new revenue," he said. "I expect this to make a fair amount of progress in '05, and the next couple of years."

Among the changes under President-Time Warner Global Marketing John Partilla, a founder of Y&R's BrandBuzz and longtime agency vet, is the hiring of his former Y&R colleague, Mark D'Arcy, to serve as the group's chief creative officer.

high expectations

Mr. D'Arcy, who began in his new position last week, will be Time

Warner's first executive to claim that title. His appointment and comments from key executives indicate that a new Global Marketing group will become more like an in-house creative shop for marketers and agencies, one which can package ideas for clients across Time Warner's media properties.

The unit's new charge, Mr. Partilla said, is to "create ideas and platforms around our house of assets."

The move to offer creative services "was John's idea, so we hired him," Mr. Logan said. Mr. Logan has long thought "as we went downstream, having a creative element" would be "an important plank" for the unit.

"A lot of opportunities" for Time Warner to create such deals have arisen as agencies and marketers have cut back on staff during the past ad downturn, Mr. Logan said. Both he and Mr. Partilla took pains to dispel any notions that the company sought to circumvent agencies.

Mr. Partilla said that the changes at the group did not require more-or fewer-staff, but that some employees have been "redeployed." Mr. Partilla has fused its sales and marketing arms, which he said made up around half of its nearly 50 staffers.

He declined to detail any specific upcoming initiatives, but said the unit will more actively seek branded entertainment deals across the company. Current efforts already underway include Revlon's "Red Carpet" deal, in which Time Warner involvement includes America Online, sponsored segments on the WB's "Extra," and Time Inc. titles People, Entertainment Weekly, and In Style, as well as event components.

"It's a very exciting space," said Mr. D'Arcy, who described his role as "wonderfully terrifying."

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