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Agency imc2 has created innovative campaigns for blue chips like P&G, GlaxoSmithKline and Unisys; learn about its philosophy and meet its superstars.
"Create and sustain real connections between people and brands."
That has been the philosophy at imc2 from the gitgo. President/Founder Doug Levy's knack for melding people from varied disciplines and expertise has grown into what is now America's largest privately held, independent digital marketing agency, with more than 500 employees and annual revenues in 2006 exceeding $64 million. Company headquarters is in Dallas; additional offices are in New York City, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and London.
Levy got his first big break shortly after graduating from the Wharton School of Business in 1995. He created Internet University, an online information/resource tool for college students. ABC Sports liked what it saw and retained Levy to develop the network's Monday Night Football website.
Over the years, the agency has expanded its focus and now provides interactive solutions for these industries:
Key clients include Coca-Cola, Eli Lilly and Company, Pfizer, Nestlé, Shire, Pizza Hut, Procter & Gamble, Sam's Club and Omni Hotels.
imc2 recently moved to a 99,000-square-foot headquarters, and Advertising Age designated the company as a top 10 agency for the third time. The company has won gobs of awards over the years; in 2007 some of these included the Webby Awards (People's Voice Winner-Pharmaceuticals: Cymbalta Real Stories); DFWIMA EIMA Awards (Most Effective Non-Profit Campaign: Being-A-Hero (beinggirl.com); and In Awe Awards (Interactive/Digital: Website corporate: Myalli.com).
GSK wanted to introduce the first FDA-approved, over-the-counter weight-loss pill. imc2 launched an unbranded site -- QuestionEverything.com -- in the summer of 2006, which contained credible information and professionally moderated discussion aimed at targeted dieters. It emphasized the importance of committing to a weight-loss program, sans photos and claims. In six months, with minimal media coverage, the site attracted 700,000 unique visitors and 38,000 registrants for a still-to-be named product.
A few months later, FDA granted approval for the product, and last February, imc2 created three sites: myalli.com, mialli.com (Spanish site) and allihcp.com (for healthcare providers). The agency designed the first two sites for people interested in understanding how to use the new drug, called 'alli.' The healthcare providers gave practitioners the information and tools needed to offer patients an alternative to current over-the-counter weight-loss options. Content/tools on the consumer sites included a BMI calculator and a readiness quiz. A 'Commitment Letter' feature enabled people to share past diet experiences. More than 1.5 million unique visitors logged on during the first four months.
Client: Procter & Gamble
Last summer, Procter & Gamble wanted to generate more buzz about Secret deodorant and highlight the brand's 50th anniversary. The campaign asked women "are you strong enough to share your secret?" They were directed to a microsite designed by imc2, which generated more than 25,000 responses and doubled site traffic for the brand. Participants were encouraged, preferably anonymously, to spill their guts.
Average monthly user sessions from July through September were 119,000; page views were 767,000 and average time on the site was just over five minutes. The microsite, according to Procter & Gamble, was very successful at creating an emotional connection between the consumers and the brand, and allowed women a lot of freedom to share their secrets.
Campaign: "Security Unleashed"
Unisys wanted to heighten awareness of its security services to C-level executives at Fortune 500 companies. Unisys' print ad agency created personalized billboards and airport posters in areas each executive frequented, along with custom Fortune Magazine cover stories featuring each executive as the hero. In concert with the print campaign, imc2 created two digital elements:
The campaign encouraged people to think about Unisys as a strategic partner to enable secure business operations. Nearly two-thirds of targeted executives logged in to get the Security Unleashed story, and Unisys received feedback from them confirming the campaign has increased awareness.
President & Founder
Doug Levy honed his entrepreneurial skills while an undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania. He started up a discount textbook business called Campus Text, then created an online/resource tool for college students called Internet University, which attracted interest from ABC Sports. Levy developed the Monday Night Football website and, shortly thereafter, launched imc2.
Levy is a summa cum laude graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He also earned a Bachelor of Science in entrepreneurial management and a Bachelor of Arts in urban policy from the university.
Senior Vice President
Marc Blumberg is a recognized expert in digital marketing and has played a key role in developing the company's service offerings. He has helped build imc2 from six to a staff of more than 450 people.
Blumberg has developed several of the company's proprietary interactive service offerings. Prior to joining the company, he was a strategy consultant for Gemini Consulting's MAC Group and for the New England Consulting Group. He received a Bachelor of Science in economics from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.
Senior Vice President, Managing Director, Dallas
Beth Kuykendall has created and implemented successful digital marketing programs for clients such as GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly and Company, Nestle, Pizza Hut and Kellogg's. She has also played a leading role in establishing the company's relationship marketing practice.
Before imc2, Kuykendall was executive vice president of client results at Targetbase. She earned a Master of Science degree in statistics from Southern Methodist University and a Bachelor of Science in math from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Senior Vice President, Executive Creative Director
Alan Schulman oversees the development of interactive campaigns for numerous clients at imc2. MEDIA Magazine recently named him one of the 100 most influential people in advertising.
Prior to joining the company, Schulman was chief creative officer and co-founder of New York City-based Brand New World. He also served as senior vice president/creative director of Universal McCann Futures, the digital ad group of McCann North America. Schulman serves on the board of advisors for TiVo, board of governors of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and is a member of the New York Marketing & Media Technologies Council.
Senior Vice President, Business Development
Ian Wolfman helps clients identify innovative ways to leverage the internet, achieve their business objectives and measure results.
Before coming to imc2, Wolfman worked in sports marketing and general advertising on accounts such as the NFL, Nokia, Corona and Bombardier. He also teaches a class at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business entitled, 'Leading Strategic Internet Marketing' for full-time and professional MBA programs.
Wolfman received his MBA from Southern Methodist University and a Bachelor of Science in corporate communications from the University of Texas.
imc2, noted Levy, is constantly creating and developing innovative digital tools to meet client needs and remain among the digital vanguard. Some of these have included:
ConversionMonitor: A proprietary methodology that helps determine if a company's site is effective at driving sales. When consumers visit the site, for example, the program helps determine if the site changes their perception of the brand, ultimately leading to an increased intent to purchase.
Media Marketplace: Delivers higher volumes of media inventory. A media-buying process, it features a secure online forum where qualified media properties compete anonymously by bidding up inventory amounts they'll provide for the fixed budget.
Vivilogue: A unique, proprietary multimedia education tool that leverages rich interactive content and multimedia to deliver cost-effective and visually relevant messages to key target audiences.
SiteInformant: Delivers an activity report via email each time a competitor's website changes, as well as summary weekly/monthly reports. Helps track when the competition changes product positioning, when new products are introduced and when prices are adjusted.
Dispatch: A suite of tools providing marketers with the ability to reach, capture and retain target audiences online through RSS-based marketing. It has an RSS publishing platform, branded desktop reader, measurement system and an eCRM dynamic feed system.
"We're in business to help advance relationships. It's as simple as that," said Levy.
Neal Leavitt is president of Fallbrook, CA-based Leavitt Communications, an international marketing communications company with affiliates in Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India and the United Kingdom.
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