McGarry Bowen

Published on .

2004 Rating: 4 stars

The essence: Founded in September 2002 by three ex- Young & Rubicam executives and a former Ogilvy & Mather creative director renowned for work on clients including American Express Co., McGarry Bowen, New York, has rapidly risen from under-the-radar to being considered one of the top U.S. shops.

Net growth: In 2004, McGarry Bowen's roster expanded with the addition of blue-chip marketers including Pfizer (for its Indiplon launch), JPMorgan Chase (Chase division, U.S. retail and credit card business) and Reebok International. Marriott International and Verizon Communications have added duties. No clients left.

management: Ex- Y&R-ers John McGarry, Stan Stefanski and Stewart Owen teamed with former Ogilvy creative director Gordon Bowen to launch McGarry Bowen; its initial client was Verizon. Today, McGarry Bowen employs more than 50. Management favors winning business via word-of-mouth and relationships (Mr. McGarry, per Madison Ave. buzz, has the connections) over pitch participation.

Creative quality and effectiveness: McGarry Bowen's work tells stories and usually plucks a heartstring. Easy to digest, often beautiful or funny, the advertising generally works because it connects with consumers emotionally. Wacky, non-conventional approaches they aren't. An appetite still exists for a more traditional approach based on TV and print. "The Big Story" campaign for Marriott International raised brand recognition for all of the Marriott brands.

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