ABR 2011: RAPP

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Robert Horvath
Robert Horvath

: Robert Horvath,
chairman and CEO

: DDB (Omnicom Group)

: 41 wholly owned globally; 
3 in US

Of all the major direct marketing agencies, it is Rapp that shies away the most from that moniker. But while many direct shops simply want to stress their digital acumen over legacy direct channels, Robert Horvath, the CEO of Rapp, wants clients to call his firm to lead the strategic thinking around any customer-related issue.

"Our ideal position is the lead strategic partner for clients," he says. "We will help them drive the strategy to solve the customer problem — drive more customers, retain customers or optimize those customers. Every company has one of those issues, and that's why they hire marketing and advertising agencies, right?"


Rapp's core revenue stream is supplied by customer acquisition and retention programs, including loyalty, DRTV, data analysis and analytics, and digital marketing including strategy, though the firm typically outsources digital production. Direct mail makes up only 15% of its business. "We don't want to be a one-stop shop for executing everything," says Horvath. "We want to be the one-stop shop that helps them understand the problem and execute a solution to solve that problem."

He expects to add additional resources in its media planning capabilities going forward.


The company added new accounts from fragrance brand Coty, Humana, Pfizer, AMC and, more recently, Time Warner. It lost its H&R Block account. Work for AMC included an overhaul of the theater chain's loyalty program and has expanded into online as well. For Pfizer, Rapp is handling the entirety of the Viagra marketing account, minus TV, working to maintain the drug's leadership position. It also handles customer retention for troubled automaker Toyota. "They're a great company, so I think they'll come out of this stronger," says Horvath. "They've taken a few body blows along the way." Other top clients include Merck and GSK.


Rapp's global staff tops 2,500, while its US staff stands at around 1,200. Last year, global president Paul Price left in May to become CEO of Creative Realities. The agency has not replaced him. In August, it installed Marty Cooke from SS&K as its chief creative officer in the US. The New York GM, Terry Young, left for Purple@Epsilon and Robert Grammatica replaced him, taking on additional duties to his existing global chief client officer post.

"We're looking for people that have general backgrounds to understand how the whole brand behaves in this new continuum," Horvath says.


Rapp, which is part of holding company Omnicom, declined to disclose revenues, but Horvath says the firm had "double-digit" growth in 2010. "Last year the economy stunk, but our business was good," he says. "From our standpoint, the economy kept us from the tide rising that much higher. We pulled ourselves up because of the work we're doing and the relationships we have with clients." 

The agency's US market grew the most in terms of total revenues with the UK and Europe close behind. Its fastest-growing market regions were Asia and then Latin America.


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