Ex-Rapp Collins NY Chief Opens Gardner Nelson Unit

Share this article:
Robert Solomon, former CEO of Rapp Collins New York, opened a direct response division for Gardner Nelson & Partners.


Gardner Nelson, a 5-year-old independent agency, has 30 employees and billings of more than $135 million from clients like Bank One, Cablevision and The Clean Energy States Alliance. Solomon's arrival aims to raise the standard for direct marketing.


"If you look at anybody's personal list of great agencies," Solomon said, "you almost never are going to find a direct marketing agency among them. I'd like to change that."


Solomon has been named managing partner of Gardner Nelson Solomon, as the agency's direct division is known. His mandate is to build a direct division with effective thinking, concepts and craft.


"More practically," he said, "I want to help the current clients of the agency when they need assistance from me in a more integrated way."


Work for One Life Direct, a division of Bank One, had begun well before the creation of Gardner Nelson Solomon. Solomon consulted on direct response television work commissioned by One Life. Solomon also assisted in the pitch for the Cablevision business, again advising on DRTV.


An advertising veteran, Solomon was president of direct and interactive marketing at Ammirati Puris Lintas -- now Lowe Worldwide -- prior to his stint at Rapp Collins. He worked on accounts like AT&T Corp., American Express Co., Mercedes-Benz, Seagram, United Parcel Service, Johnson & Johnson and Compaq Computer before its merger with Hewlett-Packard Co.


Solomon met Steve Gardner and Tom Nelson, founders of Gardner Nelson & Partners, when they all worked at Ammirati Puris Lintas.


Solomon also is the author of two books on account management: "Brain Surgery for Suits" (Strategy Press, 2000) and "The Art of Client Service" (Dearborn Trade Publishing, 2003).


For the moment, Solomon is the sole employee of his division. He will call on the parent agency's production and creative resources for work on clients.


"When we need to we'll go out for top-flight creative and account management," he said. "That's how Gardner Nelson & Partners started. As we grow, we'll turn to freelance first, and then we'll add staff. We haven't had that need so far, but I'm optimistic we'll have it. The thinking here is to have a very tightly integrated agency."


Share this article:

Sign up to our newsletters

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

More in Agency

John Wanamaker Is Dead, Long Live the CMO

John Wanamaker Is Dead, Long Live the CMO

A century-old motto isn't—and shouldn't be—relevant today. CMOs need to get with the times and put their customer knowledge to good use.

Unleashing the True Power of the Customer

Unleashing the True Power of the Customer

Retailers who harness customer loyalty program data can create a customer-centric competitive advantage.

News Byte: Gartner Retail Expert Joins eCommera as CMO

News Byte: Gartner Retail Expert Joins eCommera as ...

Kevin Sterneckert brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to eCommera.