Sistine Chapel Inspires New Marketing Consultancy

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Chicago advertising executives Lori Beal and Dennis O'Connell and San Francisco-based Jay Miller launched a new marketing consultancy called 1508 Inc., named for the year Michelangelo began work on the Sistine Chapel.


The consultancy (www.1508-inc.com) will offer clients recommendations that are neutral of discipline and media within a proprietary metrics-focused marketing model. Since it is not involved in tactical executions, 1508 will work with clients' existing agencies to implement suggestions.


"Agencies look to their array of services and develop solutions to fit the clients' needs but driven by the services they offer," Beal said. "We're not necessarily like that. We're a small, nimble group of strategists. We don't have the burden of overhead as agencies do."


Beal is president of 1508. She previously was group strategy director at Communication Effectiveness, an ad agency within printer R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. focusing on financial services. She worked on accounts such as MBNA, HSBC, Wells Fargo and Washington Mutual.


The other two partners at 1508 are CEO Miller and chief strategy officer O'Connell. Miller is the former CEO of TargetCom, a relationship marketing agency he founded in 1988 and later sold to Canadian marketing services firm Maxxcom, now MDC. O'Connell spent 25 years at DDB Chicago, with account leadership of Rubbermaid, ConAgra, State Farm, USG, Cardinal Health, Discover Card and Anheuser-Busch.


At 1508, the focus is on categories like retail, hospitality, automotive and financial services. Beal would not name clients. Typical services 1508 will render involve developing a marketing mix model; the combination of media elements, their frequency and spend levels; outsourcing of tactical executions whenever needed; and return on marketing investment.


"What we're seeing from our clients is an increased desire for accountability," Beal said. "[But] one of the biggest challenges is effecting change after what that data's telling you."


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