- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 13, 2005

A new agency in the Washington area is focusing on bringing brands to life through direct human contact.

MJM, with headquarters in New York, has opened an office in Arlington to extend its face-to-face marketing practice. The agency sees a lot of opportunity in this untapped market — particularly with associations and telecommunications companies, said Steven Phillips, senior vice president, creative for MJM.

The agency’s services include meetings, conferences and events; exhibits and trade shows; training and development workshops; and street and mobile marketing.

As it becomes more difficult to get people’s attention, companies are considering nontraditional strategies — such as face-to-face marketing — to make a difference. It is an element that complements other marketing and advertising efforts.

The agency says by allowing an audience to interact and experience a brand, product or service, marketers can create a genuine connection.

“Demand for MJM’s unique brand of face-to-face marketing has increased as companies recognize the importance of putting people in front of people to represent a brand,” said Michael Wolkowitz, co-chief executive officer of the agency, which also has locations in London and Detroit.

MJM, which is part of the WPP Group, works with clients such as the Smithsonian Institution, American Express, Microsoft, Red Bull, GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The right size

Provident Bank will debut a TV spot positioning it as the right size bank for personal and business needs.

The commercial, created by Trahan, Burden & Charles, consists of various women speaking about their chaotic lives and how they need a bank that makes things simple for them.

This spot is an extension of a campaign the Baltimore-based bank started last year, which emphasized its personalized service.

The 30-second spot will begin airing today on cable in Baltimore, Washington and Richmond. Network affiliates in those markets will begin running the ad at the end of the month.

New wins

• Roy Rogers Restaurants has named +SmithGifford its new agency of record. The Falls Church ad agency will create buzz marketing campaigns as well as radio spots and in-store promotions for the Frederick, Md.-based restaurant chain.

• GKV Communications of Baltimore has been retained as the agency of record for Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development, which includes the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts. The three-year contract is worth $15.6 million and includes two one-year extensions.

• The Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association has hired two agencies — M. Silver Associates and Trahan, Burden & Charles (TBC) — to reposition and promote the Baltimore region as a tourism and convention destination. M. Silver Associates, based in New York, will handle national public relations while Baltimore’s TBC will work on regional communications.

• Fidelity & Trust Bank has hired Group360 of Washington to handle advertising, marketing and public relations for the Bethesda-based bank.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Advertising & Marketing runs every other Monday.

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