Execs and Accounts for October 14, 2002

Best Buy has tapped Web analytics player WebSideStory to help optimize its online marketing and merchandising efforts. The mega-retailer has implemented WebSideStory’s HitBox Commerce service, an outsourced e-commerce analysis tool, on BestBuy.com.

Best Buy said it expects the implementation to provide its executives with immediate insight on how to optimize conversions, measure and improve marketing campaign performance and pinpoint online revenue-enhancing opportunities.

“Best Buy understands the importance of getting the most out of its online sales channel,” said John Hentrich, president and CEO of WebSideStory. “HitBox Commerce enables Best Buy to pinpoint online revenue-enhancing opportunities easily.”

HitBox Commerce combines clickstream analysis with purchasing activity to expose actionable shopping patterns and trends among a Web site’s users. Best Buy also uses WebSideStory’s marketing analytics service, HitBox Enterprise.

Interactive agency R/GA has promoted creative director Nick Law to vice president of visual design, a move designed to increase the agency’s digital production output. R/GA divides creative into two departments, visual design and interaction design or user experience. It said that as he increases his design role, Law will continue to partner with VP of interaction design Chris Colborn on interface issues.

“Over the near term we intend to devote more energy to developing an expertise in Web based copy along with full motion video, sound effects, computer graphics and music capabilities that are specifically geared toward the online customer,” said Bob Greenberg, R/GA’s chairman and chief creative officer. “Developing new assets combined with repurposing of existing ones is becoming a key element in any interactive project, and Nick’s multi-disciplinary background positions him well for this new role.”

Interactive media sales and marketing company Jumpstart Digital, which specializes in automotive ads, has opened an office in the Detroit metro area. Under the direction of Thomas O’Leary, its newly hired vice president of local ad sales, the office in Plymouth, Mich. will house Jumpstart’s new local auto dealer ad sales division and support the agency’s national online ad sales.

O’Leary is a former director of sales for Autoweb.com, recently acquired by Autobytel.com, and a past senior account executive at The SoftAd Group, where he was responsible for Ford’s DealerConnection program. He also managed Web initiatives for Land Rover, Jaguar, and Ford of Europe.

Among Jumpstart’s Detroit area customers are the Ford, Chrysler and General Motors brands. The company represents leading automotive web sites such as NADAguides.com, Vehix.com, CarandDriver.com, RoadandTrack.com and NewCarTestDrive.com.

U.K. motoring organization the Automobile Association has chosen Thruport Technologies’ AdJuggler as its ad serving solution of choice. The association will operate AdJuggler as a hosted service from Thruport’s data center.

“The decision to go with Thruport was driven primarily by two factors: flexibility of the system and value,” said Mike Davey, theAA.com’s Business Change Manager. “Using a technical solution outside of our own infrastructure obviously makes sense from a cost savings point of view and we are confident Thruport will be able to deliver on our expectations.”

Integrated marketing agency Bailey Gardiner has promoted two staff members in its public relations and advertising departments. On the public relations team, Kimberly Julin was named account supervisor and Cara Sbardellati was promoted to account executive in the ad department.

Julin joined BGI in 1999 as an account coordinator, having overseen successful campaigns for Tiffany & Co., W Hotels, Mama’s Kitchen and Shea Homes. Sbardellati’s accounts include Hazard Center, Barratt American and IntraCorp Development.

France’s Publicis Groupe has shuffled some executive positions, redistributing some of its management talent in the first changes to be announced since its merger with BCom3 last month. Included in the staff news is the hiring of Rick Bendel as chief operating officer of Publicis Worldwide; Susan Gianinno as chair and CEO of Publicis Worldwide USA; and Lee Garfinkel as worldwide creative director for Publicis Worldwide.

Gianinno and Garfinkel are both formerly of D’Arcy Worldwide, which Publicis has decided to mnerge with its other group agencies. Bendel’s most recent post at Publicis was that of regional chairman for the United Kingdom and for the Nordic region. He will have responsibility with Maurice Levy, chairman and CEO of Publicis Worldwide, for that agency network’s development.

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

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