WCJ Chicago Interactive Group Named Brand Dialogue Office

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Responding to growing interactive marketing needs among its Midwestern clients, Young & Rubicam Inc. opened an office of its Brand Dialogue unit in Chicago and announced plans to begin an "aggressive" personnel expansion.

To carry out the opening, commercial communications giant Y&R brought the interactive group of its Wunderman Cato Johnson Chicago office into the fold of the Brand Dialogue network, Y&R's interactive marketing unit. WCJ Chicago vice president Rick Schreuder was named managing director of the Chicago Brand Dialogue office.

Brand Dialogue wants a staff dedicated specifically to the interactive side of the business, said group account director Mark Wollney, who joined Brand Dialogue at the end of August from Citibank, where he was head of retail interactive communications. The Internet, Wollney said, is the "ultimate direct marketing tool."

"The strategy was definitely [that] we need to have a separate group of individuals who are focused specifically on interactive, whether it be on the Web, CD-ROMs, multimedia or kiosks. Whatever we do to help meet a client's objectives on a marketing front, we need to have a group that is just focused on [interactive work]," Wollney said.

In addition to staff who have made the transition from WCJ Chicago, Brand Dialogue will add as many as 20 online marketing employees to its ranks. The office has begun work on new assignments that require immediate staff, Wollney said, adding that the firm would like to have at least some new employees in place by the end of the year. He noted that the company is especially interested in media planners with traditional marketing experience who already know their way around the Web.

"It's a skill set that's hard to find right now," Wollney said.

The new office's clients include H&R Block Inc., Kansas City, MO, life sciences company Monsanto Co., which has offices in Chicago and St. Louis, and Citibank, a subsidiary of New York-based Citigroup Inc., the world's largest financial services company. Citibank also has offices in Chicago.

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