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October 20, 2008 10:15 AM

Microsoft digital ad shop renames itself Razorfish

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The Seattle digital advertising agency Microsoft acquired as part of its largest acquisition, Avenue A | Razorfish, has renamed itself Razorfish.

Microsoft has integrated many of the other pieces aQuantive, the broad digital holding company that included Avenue A | Razorfish, into its broader Advertiser and Publisher Solutions group, headed by former CEO Brian McAndrews.

But the agency itself -- one of the largest interactive marketers and buyers of digital ad inventory -- remains "independent" from Microsoft; to address conflict-of-interest concerns for Razorfish clients. So much so that Microsoft is not even mentioned in the release.

Likewise, a new company fact sheet only mentions Microsoft as a sample client. Did I miss something? Microsoft still owns the agency, right?

"Yes, we remain an independent subsidiary of Microsoft," Razorfish's PR director confirms via e-mail.

Microsoft was rumored this summer to be talking with ad giant WPP about a sale of the agency.

Here's a snapshot of the agency, from the fact sheet that doesn't mention Microsoft:

-- Founded: 1995

-- Revenues (calendar 2007): Approx. $300 million

-- Personnel count: More than 2,000 (worldwide)

-- Capabilities: Advertising & Branding, Analytics, Email Marketing & eCRM, Emerging Media, Interaction Design, Search Marketing, Strategy & Planning, Social Influence Marketing, Technology Architecture & integration

And more on the name:

According to the release, "The Avenue A | Razorfish name was the result of a 2004 merger between Avenue A, one of the first companies to plan and buy digital media, and Razorfish, one of the first companies to counsel clients on digital marketing strategy, creative, and web design."

While the agency feels both brands still remain strong, Razorfish "enjoys stronger brand equity around the world," Clark Kokich, Razorfish CEO, said in the release.

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