Bruce Bildsten, the ex-Fallon executive creative director who directly oversaw the creation of BMW Films, has partnered with Michelle Fitzgerald, a former Fallon executive. Bildsten left the agency last fall, following the carmaker's departure from the agency. Fitzgerald is one of the country's pioneers in the field of communications planning, which she helped introduce at Fallon in 1999.
"Marketers increasingly understand that what you say and where you say it need to be linked more than ever," says Bildsten, who won the 2001 Emmy for the PBS "Stay Curious" campaign, in addition to sharing the Clio and other awards for BMW Films. "Right now, there are still two sides of connecting with consumers in the new media landscape; there needs to be one."
Bildsten says Brew, housed in a restored fire station, is working initially with clients and other agencies on a project basis and does not plan on building a large permanent staff. Instead, it relies on a network of professionals in advertising, graphic design, interactive, strategy, film production, media, PR and product design on an on-demand basis. Two full-time interactive employees with strong media-planning experience will join Brew in the coming weeks, although the partners would not say if hires were also from Fallon.
Brew is the latest shop to surface in the trend toward a new breed of melded marketing firms--creative consultancies built around the power of the idea, like Naked and The Media Kitchen. Fitzgerald says this trend is the logical result of unbundling, which becomes increasingly irrelevant as consumers have greater control over how they get their media.
"What we see too much today is what I would call the pimp-my-media plan," laughs Fitzgerald. For her, that occurs when the creative agency presents an idea and tosses it to the media agency, which is then expected to execute it effectively--although it's had no input until that point. "In the past couple years, as media agencies have gotten more say, the situation has sometimes been reversed," she adds, "but that doesn't make it work any better."