Ogilvy Expands Interactive Resources

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LONDON - OgilvyOne has expanded its already extensive French operations through acquisition of one new media agency and the creation of an online IT services company.


"We are acquiring interactive agencies at a hectic pace," explained Paul O'Donnell, the company's London-based executive vice president.


The acquired agency, Mediaquest, was "a good cultural fit to merge our burgeoning interactive unit into their unit to create a 50-person operation which is substantial.


"For us, Paris is a very important hub for the IBM account and our European team is focused out of Paris and that made France even more significant."


The new OgilvyInteractive operation will provide consulting, creative, implementation and media services to a list of blue chip clients that include France Telecom, Louis Vuitton, Nestle, Lotus and SmithKline Beecham.


The startup, O Technologies, is a new departure for the agency, O'Donnell said. "One of our biggest issues is finding good systems integration support as we move to industrial strength Web sites with e-commerce capability.


"Finding good technical people who have an interest in the Web and in digital is difficult so we chose an unusual approach. We created a company in which we have a minority interest. That gives us rights of first refusal.


"All the guys we assembled had their own small businesses. Together we can give them an infrastructure they did not have, and deliver an incremental business to them while they come together under one umbrella."


Good technical people are hard to assemble because "they have different financial ideas that don't fit into our environment. In interactive space people have made extraordinary wealth in a short time."
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