Amphibian Heads Upstream

Initiative Media’s Amphibian division isn’t the only outfit on Madison Avenue focusing on integrated media campaigns. But it still has the most interesting name. Drew Corry, who runs the group, has been doing integration for four years. The unit was christened in 2008 and the name signifies that the agency is comfortable working across media and platforms, just as amphibians are comfortable in both water and land environments.

Since then, Corry has found the name to be a great conversation-starter. “Some people get it right away; some people say what is with the name,” Corry says. Either way, more clients are buying into the notion that integrated campaigns are the way to go.

“It’s definitely been something that clients have embraced a lot more recently,” he says. “The economic dip impacted some budgets, so it might have slowed for a little while, but it’s definitely back up on the radar of clients.”

Corry says his group has executed more than 100 integrated, cross-platform campaigns of varied scope over the past four years. Clients have included SC Johnson, Big Lots, Las Vegas and Bayer. When it started, Amphibian worked with three or four of Initiative’s clients. Now it works with eight to 10. The number of people in the group has grown too, but only from three to five. “We’ve started to really work with other [account] groups as opposed to increasing the staff necessarily associated with this group. So we’re a lot more integrated across the agency,” Corry says.

Corry believes media vendors have gotten better at coming forward with the assets that would be most valuable to the client, as opposed to bringing the same extension no matter the idea. He recently did a campaign with Lifetime for one client that involved a sweepstakes that could be entered either through Lifetime’s Website or TiVo. “We actually got Lifetime to send us all of their creative assets for the promotion of the show,” he says. “All of those were tagged for interactivity. That really wound up being a success in terms of driving people to sign up for the sweepstakes.”

In addition to the enhanced effectiveness integrated campaigns can have, buying several platforms in one package can provide leverage. Corry calls it negotiating in an aggregated fashion. “I’ll put the leverage on the vendor and I’ll say, ‘If you want the digital expenditure, it’s going to drive the value for you and you need to give me a break on TV,’” he says.

Corry caught the integration bug while assigned to Initiative’s national broadcast department, where he worked primarily on the Coors account. “People were coming to the fore with ideas that made a lot of sense, and I could envision there was a future where there is going to be a need for someone to have expertise specifi cally extending those types of ideas into other platforms,” he says. That was necessary because the people executing the ideas on other platforms often didn’t know the brand or the TV world and “it would, quite frankly, start to stumble,” Corry adds.

Outside the office, Corry enjoys music, movies and sports and watches a lot of the Food Network. He’s taken some cooking classes and claims to make a killer Bloody Mary sauce. He also smokes pork shoulders—not in his New York City apartment, but in his house in the Catskills.

In college, Corry studied marketing. “Media and advertising were always something I had an interest in,” he says. “It was a fraternity brother who was in the media industry who gave me a rundown of what you did, and I got an assistant’s job on the television side,” he says.

Around the office, Corry is known for wearing cowboy boots. “Everybody asks if I’m from the Midwest,” says Corry, who is originally from Long Island and grew up in Hoboken, N.J. Perhaps flippers would be just as appropriate.

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Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.