Execs & Accounts for August 27, 2003

Tim McHale has resigned as CEO of Underscore Marketing, a cross-platform media consulting firm, to launch a publisher-side consulting firm.

The new venture, Madison Avenue Consultants, will offer insight to publishers on how to better address the needs of marketers and agencies in an age of consolidation.

“Tim and I launched this company together,” said Underscore President Tom Hespos. “Along the way, we discovered that our core strengths lie along different paths. We value Tim’s contribution to the company to date and wish him the very best for the future.”

McHale’s role and responsibilities will be absorbed by the existing Underscore management team. Terms of the separation are confidential, but both parties have said they’re satisfied with the agreement. The agency was launched by McHale and Hespos in May 2002.

“I will forever value the entrepreneurial experience I had partnering with Tom Hespos and the entire Underscore team and wish them much continued success,” McHale said.

CCI, Japan’s largest online media representative, has chosen CheckM8 to design and deliver rich media campaigns on behalf of its clients. CheckM8’s system will enable CCI to author, deliver and track a large variety of different ad formats, as well as allow CCI to create new and ad formats for clients.

“CheckM8 technology will allow us to improve campaign performance through rich media while maintaining fastest time-to-market and controlling production costs,” said Toshio Arai, CCI president and CEO.

CheckM8 is rolling out its operations in Japan in partnership with Sumitomo Corporation, a CheckM8 shareholder.

In other Japanese market news, Bigfoot Interactive strategic partner Mitsui & Co. has signed more than 20 new clients — including Microsoft Japan, Bandai Networks and Netmile — which will be leveraging a fully localized version of Bigfoot Interactive’s technology platform.

“Mitsui & Co. has demonstrated great success in marketing the Bigfoot Interactive email platform in Japan,” said Bigfoot CEO Al DiGuido. “In less than one year, the partnership has generated significant new business.”

The strategic partnership, which officially launched in October 2002, includes full utilization of Bigfoot’s marketing technology and automation services

Idea Machine, RareMethod Capital’s digital creative division, has won two new Calgary-based accounts — Climate Change Central and Absolute Energy.

For Climate Change Central, a coordinator of activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta, Idea Machine is designing two Web sites. One will target Alberta companies engaged in the province’s energy industry. The other will focus on communicating with the citizens to keep them abreast of environmental issues, news and initiatives to protect Alberta’s environment.

For Absolute Energy, an international oil and gas company, Idea machine is developing branding and communication strategies for the company’s five divisions.

The North Face has tapped San Francisco-based Fluid to be its interactive agency of record. Fluid assumed operational responsibility for TheNorthFace.com in late May and is working closely with The North Face team to enhance its online presence.

“After an extensive agency review process, we chose Fluid because of their proven ability to execute, the breadth and depth of their technical knowledge and most importantly, the strength of their team,” said Jim Gerson, VP of brand management for The North Face.

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

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