Weber Shandwick gets into advertising game with Sawmill launch

Weber Shandwick is reworking its issue and advocacy advertising firm Sawyer Miller into Sawmill, a full-service ad agency.

Sawmill president Tim Ryan
Sawmill president Tim Ryan

NEW YORK: Weber Shandwick is taking the wraps off Sawmill, which it is billing as a full-service advertising agency.

Sawmill was "carved from the lineage" of Weber specialty issue and advocacy advertising shop Sawyer Miller with the goal of providing clients with services from planning to activation, said Weber SVP of global corporate communications Michelle Selesky.

At the start of next year, Sawyer Miller president Tim Ryan and multiplatform campaign chief creative officer Josh Rose will co-lead Sawmill, overseeing 50 staffers in offices in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, and Seattle.

Services will include creative, account management, strategic planning, production, and paid media strategy, working across broadcast, print, social, digital, and mobile platforms.

"It used to be that ad agencies spawned PR shops; we’re flipping the model on its head," Selesky explained.

The shop’s clients include the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Healthcare.gov, and Spanish multinational Abengoa.

In the past, Weber has developed groups focused on areas that do not fall under traditional communications. Last March, it launched the Mediaco content creation and distribution unit, which aims to bring together content marketing and new media for clients.

Weber CEO Andy Polansky told PRWeek earlier this year that "Mediaco was a big engine from the financial perspective [in 2013], a game-changer that particularly fueled our success in consumer."

He added at the time that Weber has tripled the number of employees who focus on digital since 2010.

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