Cleverworks Acquires Garlic Advertising To Rebundle Media
Cleverworks, the brainchild of ex-Optimedia Senior Vice President-Group Media Director Mike McHale, will acquire Garlic Advertising, which has done work for clients such as Ramada International and Cingular.
While small-scale, the move is another example of the concept known as "rebundling" that has been percolating in the media community over the last year. As media and creative duties become increasingly intermingled, agencies may reverse the 25-year-old trend of positioning media-planning/buying silos separate from creative.
"Unless we're all equal and we're all talking at the same meeting, there is no way to completely understand and complete the task," McHale says. "Clients won't have to wonder why media and creative is disjointed."
In addition to the bundling approach, McHale says the acquisition is driven by requests his year-old shop has received from clients to craft ads and "buy the holes" to place them.
Garlic is run by Brian Wheeler, who worked with McHale years ago at Warren Kremer Paino. The creative shop will relocate to Cleverworks' New Jersey offices.
"Often, ideas come from collaboration, and you can't collaborate with the creative agency because even if they're in the same holding company, creative wants to look better than media--and media better than creative," he says. Everyone wants to look like the favorite son or daughter, and that creates competition that can be damaging."
A year ago, McHale, who built a reputation on Madison Avenue with his work on the heavily publicized BMW Films campaign and oversight of the British Airways account at Publicis' Optimedia, struck out on his own with Cleverworks.
He said the shop will post billings of up to $15 million this year, with its largest client Eos Airlines, which flies between New York and London and offers only business-class.
Eos' most visible presence engineered by Cleverworks is a "strip" position each Monday along the bottom of the front page of The New York Times business section.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the agency executed a "station domination/360 coverage" campaign of the Canary Wharf district in London.