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IBM Narrows Interactive Agencies to Six

In a consolidation move, IBM selected six interactive agencies, down from 60, to support its Web strategy, marketing, design and interactive advertising activities around the world.

The agencies are: Modem Media . Poppe Tyson, OgilvyInteractive, R/GA Interactive, Strategic Interactive Group, Studio Archetype and THINK New Ideas Inc. The New York Times estimated billings at more than $40 million.

IBM said the decision follows previous consolidations of its advertising, direct marketing and business show agencies, and reflects a continuing focus on brand integration and marketing in all media, including the Internet.

IBM recently centralized its companywide Web strategy, design and production through its Enterprise Web Management unit, and its Web application development and Internet event production through IBM's Global Services business.

The selected interactive agencies were chosen based on their capabilities in strategy, Web site development, user experience, design, digital branding, interactive marketing and advertising, and application development, as well as their global reach, IBM said.

Interestingly, IBM conducted most of the agency review and qualification process through an interactive application on its Web site. More than 100 interactive agencies, including more than 60 incumbents, participated in the review. The consolidated agency model will take effect Jan. 1.

"Our goal is to drive a consistent IBM brand image on the Web and to enhance the value, consistency and efficiency of interactive Web work with a core group of preferred interactive agency partners," said Abby Kohnstamm, IBM senior vice president, marketing.