Inter/Media officially debuts interactive unit

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Inter/Media Group of Companies, a specialist in television and radio advertising, has formally launched its Inter/Media Interactive unit to serve clients and prospects seeking interactive marketing services.

Headed by senior vice president Todd Geller, Inter/Media Interactive offers online media buying, search engine marketing and optimization, affiliate marketing, e-mail marketing, Web design and online ad sales. It has gained 20 clients, some new and others existing.

"We ignored online for way too long, and we wanted to get into the game," said Bob Yallen, president of Inter/Media, Encino, CA.

The new unit will fluctuate from six to 12 employees, borrowing them from other departments as needed. Clients include The 1928 Company, LifeAlert, Video Professor, Splash News, Dakim, Bids4Spots, Matthew Lesko and Baby Concerts. Other Inter/Media clients also are using the new unit's online services.

Founded in 1974, Inter/Media claims billings of $350 million from direct marketing work for clients. The group has seven business units, including Inter/Media Advertising, Inter/Media Time Buying Corp., Mediapoint Network, Inter/Image Productions, Inter/Post Productions Editorial and InterQuantum LLC.

Inter/Media Interactive is using its SEO, Web site Dashboard and click fraud technology for these clients. It also is using its Keep-A-Deal and InstaLead Verification lead tools.

Mr. Geller previously was media director at Reunion.com and, before that, president of online ad network Longview Media/Internetfuel. His approach for Inter/Media Interactive clients is holistic, with all online tactics working in concert.

"I think in any kind of online marketing program you want to establish all the pillars of a media buy," he said.

CME picks VSA Partners

CME, also known as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, tapped VSA Partners Inc. as its agency of record.

The Chicago shop is tasked with helping create CME's new brand identity and develop an integrated marketing program that reflects the exchange's evolution and international expansion.

Tactics planned include corporate, partner and customer communications; events and promotions across all media. The target audiences are customers, investors, employees and partners.

VSA's client roster includes BP, Caterpillar, Harley-Davidson, General Electric Co., Gap Inc., Time Warner Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. It also has done work for financial services firms like American Express, Ameritrade and First Data.

The agency last month debuted the brand identity for Chicago 2016, the campaign to bring the Summer Olympics to Chicago that year.

VSA last year worked with CME on its 2005 annual report to shareholders. More recently, it helped craft CME's new corporate ad campaign that broke in September. Taglined "Smart People, Great Results," the ads ran in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Barron's and other financial publications.

Lopez Negrete is Hispanic AOR for Novartis

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. has hired Lopez Negrete Communications as its U.S. Hispanic agency of record.

The independent Hispanic shop will help Novartis reach out to the nation's fastest-growing ethnic minority group. Billings were not disclosed. With this appointment, the $32 billion Novartis becomes one of the few pharmaceutical giants to pay such special attention to the Hispanic market.

Founded in 1985, Lopez Negrete offers advertising, marketing and public relations. Its client list has included Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Tyson Foods, Visa USA, Azteca Milling, Mission Foods, Microsoft Corp., ConAgra Foods, Domino's Pizza, Reliant Energy and Bank of America.

The agency's more than 140 employees generated billings of nearly $150 million last year.
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