Palmer Jarvis, Rapp Collins form alliance

Vancouver-based Palmer Jarvis DDB, one of Canada's top creative agencies, has teamed with Rapp Collins Worldwide Canada, a strategically focused direct and database marketing shop, to form a strategic partnership that the agencies' senior managers hope will lead to a bevy...

Vancouver-based Palmer Jarvis DDB, one of Canada’s top creative agencies, has teamed with Rapp Collins Worldwide Canada, a strategically focused direct and database marketing shop, to form a strategic partnership that the agencies’ senior managers hope will lead to a bevy of new business wins.

According to PJDDB president Frank Palmer, the impetus for the union of the two Omnicom Group agencies stemmed from discussions that arose at the network’s U.S. head office last summer.

‘(DDB CEO) Ken Kaess called me back in August and said, ‘Frank, you have a great integrated model in Canada, which we’d love to have in the United States,’ recounts Palmer, who says he was asked to talk to Rapp Collins about bringing its direct and loyalty marketing expertise into the DDB fold in Canada. He adds that he believes the idea is to test how well the integration of two units works in Canada, as a possible precursor to rolling out a full integration throughout the entire DDB network.

Although both agencies will remain independent operating units in order to minimize the risk of potential client conflicts, Rapp Collins will be moving from its offices in Mississauga, Ont. to the same downtown building where PJDDB’s Toronto office is located. Rapp Collins president John Cooper will report to Frank Palmer.

Cooper, who joined Rapp Collins last June after moving over from the senior marketing post at FedEx Canada, says that having the two agencies work more closely together should lead to a greater consistency in the messaging developed for clients, who are increasingly demanding that advertising and marketing agencies help them leverage all the various points of contact they have with their customers.

‘There really is an increased demand for a fully integrated and holistic view of the customer,’ he says.

To help smooth the transition of the two agencies into a co-operative network, an eight-person steering committee has been established to look for both potential opportunities and pitfalls.

‘There’s almost definitely going to be a culture shift,’ says Palmer, ‘because any time you bring something new to somebody who doesn’t fully understand it, you’ll be faced with a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude.’ Nevertheless, he says he’s confident that both organizations will ultimately benefit from being able to pitch and manage client business that ‘cuts across all areas.’

Although neither Palmer or Cooper will say which of their existing clients are likely to call on the services offered by the new alliance, Palmer indicates Imperial Oil and Purolator are strong contenders, given that both clients are already shared by the two agencies.