Execs and Accounts for December 4, 2002

Agency.com has been selected by the American Marketing Association (AMA) to redesign the organization’s online information source. The online marketing and technology firm will work with the AMA and MarketingPower.com to deliver an AMA-branded interactive experience for its approximately 100,000 registered users. The goal, the agency said, is to create an easy-to-use industry resource for marketers who “recognize the thought-leadership value, industry expertise and broad array of career-building resources provided by the AMA.”

“As a leading organization for marketing professionals, it’s imperative the AMA have a Web site that effectively communicates its offerings to its members worldwide,” said Bob Wallach, CEO of MarketingPower.com. “We’re pleased to be working with Agency.com to accomplish this goal.”

America Online Latin America has entered into an interactive marketing agreement between its subsidiary AOL Mexico and American Express Mexico. Under the deal, AOL Mexico will promote the American Express (AMEX) card prominently across its service, building on an earlier successful program the portal ran for American Express.

The campaign includes insertions on the AOL Mexico Welcome Screen, a special content area for the AMEX card, and a presence in AOL keyword search results. The program also has several offline components, including direct mailings and various consumer ads.

“The agreement we announced with AOL Mexico is one more step in our growth strategy in the Mexican market,” said Lorenzo Soriano, marketing director of American Express Mexico.

ValueClick has hired Scott Ray as general manager for two business units within its technology division. Ray will manage ValueClick’s ad technology subsidiary Mediaplex and its agency management unit AdWare Systems. He most recently worked for interactive television player OpenTV, an interactive television company, where he served as executive VP and CFO. Prior to that, he held prominent posts with BarterTrust, Bay View Capital Corp, and Silicon Valley Bancshares.

Jim Zarley, chairman and chief executive officer of ValueClick, said, “We are looking to Scott to continue and accelerate the momentum that Mediaplex and AdWare have gained since becoming part of our company, as well as to help guide the vision of our overall enterprise.”

Early this year, ValueClick promised growth would soon come as a result of its 2001 acquisition of Mediaplex, which was intended to beef up technology revenues. As its media business has remained sluggish, the company has felt increasing pressure to maximize cashflow from its various subsidiaries.

Overture has launched its commercial search service in Japan. Building on its success in the United States and Europe, the pay-for-performance search provider said its first Asian marketplace will reach more than 87 percent of Japanese Internet users, making Overture the largest paid search network in Japan.

Overture’s Japanese market search listings will be generated by advertisers who bid for placement on keywords relevant to their business. Overture will then distribute those listings to the company’s affiliate partner network, which includes Yahoo! JAPAN, NTT-X (operator of the “goo” portal), and Lycos Japan. In addition, Overture and MSN agreed in September to an initial test of Overture’s search results in Japan.

“We believe we have built a market-leading business in Japan, which will serve as our initial beachhead for the larger Asia Pacific Rim,” said Johannes Larcher, general manager of Overture International.

Underscore Marketing has added six clients to its roster and appointed three executives to its management team.

Marketing firms Brand Entertainment Studios, JEMC, and CMG Communications have all engaged Underscore to provide media planning and buying services. In addition, Norelco Consumer Products Company and Sudden Industries have both tapped Underscore to provide media consulting and analysis duties for their brands. On top of these clients, DoubleClick has engaged Underscore to provide training for its sales and product development teams.

“Underscore Marketing knows how to train people on the essentials of both traditional and interactive media and that’s why we requested their expertise in this area,” said Denise Siedner, DoubleClick’s product director for online ad aolutions.

Among the company’s new execs are Jim Meskauskas, Eric Porres, and Denise SooHoo. Formerly media director at Sharpe Partners, Meskauskas joins as chief strategic officer. He worked for some of the earliest interactive agencies, including Left Field and USWeb/CKS, and has written weekly columns on media buying and planning.

Porres joins Underscore as its director of operations. He comes from Fortune.com, where he was director of production, and has previous experience at a list of media companies that includes The Walt Disney Company, Live Technology and Agency.com.

SooHoo will be Underscore’s director of media services. She has held positions at TBS Media Management, Agency.com, and Blue Marble ACG.

“Jim, Eric and Denise bring tremendous value our offering,” said Tim McHale, Underscore’s CEO. “Their deep media expertise adds significantly to Underscore’s ability to offer its clients first-rate media stewardship as we enter the age of cross-platform media experiences.”

Portland-based ad agency AlloyRed has added five to its staff. Among the new hires are senior art director David Lemke, art director/Web developer Jack Satta, information technology manager Corey Anderson, account director Mary Kall and account supervisor Erin O’Connell.

David Lemke will provide creative development for several clients. He was creative director at New York Web development company Marketing Services Group and senior designer at KVO Interactive/Advertising. As art director/Web developer, Jack Satta will work with creative staff on most accounts. Satta was most recently a senior designer at Curiosity Group.

“Our need to bring on additional strategic and creative staff members is a promising indicator of where we’re going,” said CEO Richard Rosen.

For more breaking news on account action and executive moves, visit ChannelSeven.com.

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