Stuart Elloitt of The New York Times took note this week of the creation of a new unit at BBDO New York called Batten & Company, after George Batten, whose agency, the George Batten Company, merged in 1928 with Barton, Durstine & Osborn to form what is now BBDO.
Batten & Company has 20 employees, who help marketers understand changing consumer behavior and articulate what their brands stand for. Of course, that sounds a lot like what BBDO does and what we all do. So why create a new unit with an old name?
Andrew Robertson, president and chief executive of BBDO Worldwide said, “Rather than knock on the door as BBDO, it’s a way to reach advertisers who have (existing) agency relationships so they don’t have to disrupt those relationships.” In other words, Batten & Company can provide consulting insights while the agency of record continues to produce “the work.”
Here’s how a BBDO client sees it:
“All of us are going through a massive paradigm shift, turning all the old models upside down,” said John Wallis, global head of marketing and brand strategy at Hyatt.
“We didn’t want to tell 10 agencies where we wanted to go,” he added. “We want a partner as we’re trying to figure out the complexities of today.”
Let me ask, would you rather be the client’s closest advisor on branding and marketing matters or would you prefer to be the team that conceives of and produces the work? Of course, you’ll often do both, but in some cases you won’t and it’s those instances that I’m asking about.