4 Execs Open Shop, Leave MRM, FCBi

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Four former senior executives from McCann-Erickson WorldGroup's MRM Partners Worldwide and Foote, Cone & Belding's FCBi partnered to start a direct and interactive marketing agency, Owens Kopilak Klein Lurie, also known as o2kl.

The shop opened in New York with three clients, though it has permission to disclose only Cendant Mortgage. It is doing project work for the others.

"We wanted to launch an agency because we were pretty sure we could serve clients better without 17 layers of overhead that are more concerned with Wall Street," said Tracey Owens, president of o2kl. For MRM she was executive vice president and worldwide chief client officer on the General Motors account.

"It's been quite some time since people with our experience have left some of the top agencies and went out on their own," she said. "We offer clients an alternative that hasn't been available in a long time."

Her co-principals include John Kopilak, o2kl creative director, who was with FCBi as senior vice president and group creative director. Danny Klein had the same title as Kopilak at FCBi and is a veteran of OgilvyOne Worldwide. He also is creative director at o2kl. General manager Jim Lurie was MRM senior vice president and account director and before that served at Wunderman, FCBi and Cablevision.

O2kl will offer expertise in direct response print, television, outdoor and mail as well as online marketing. Other services include sales force collateral and support programs, point of sale, internal communications and media planning and buying.

For example, the agency is offering collateral and sales support to Cendant Mortgage's Coldwell Banker, Century 21 and ERA realty units. It is also working on similar marketing for Cendant Mortgage's private-label solutions business.

In terms of preferred clients, the agency will focus on considered purchase products, big-ticket items that need a level of education and involvement in the category before buying. Overall, the agency will integrate brand and direct advertising. Given their backgrounds, a slight bias is expected.

"It's easier for direct response people to get their head around what general advertising has to do than the other way round, just because there's so much specific technique involved," Klein said. "We're on a mission to redefine what advertising is all about. Most people would say it's about awareness. We say it's ultimately about response, or it's a colossal waste of money."

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