Argentine exec blazes content trail

Fire Advertaiment to produce ad, entertainment content

BUENOS AIRES — Rodrigo Figueroa Reyes has ankled as president and general creative director of ad agency DDB Argentina to light his own fire.

Fire Advertaiment will produce content for the advertising and entertainment industries when it bows in June, kicking off with commercials and moving on to documentaries, films, musicvideos and television programming.

These will be tailor-made for advertisers or produced by Fire, which will offer marketing services in Argentina and Latin America.

The company is 60% owned by Figueroa Reyes and 40% by DDB Argentina, a unit of Omnicom Group’s DDB Worldwide. DDB will finance the venture until it achieves sufficient cash flow, Figueroa Reyes says. However, DDB expects Fire to be profitable from the start.One possible project is a sitcom built around Walter, the star of a recent DDB ad campaign for Telefonica de Argentina, the nation’s biggest phone operator and a subsidiary of Spain’s Telefonica.

In the ads, the hapless Walter was deep-frozen as part of an experiment in the 1980s, only to be defrosted in a high-tech world greatly changed from the one he knew.

Telefonica, via subsid Admira, owns leading broadcaster Telefe and holds a 51% stake in third-place Azul TV.

Fire will work with media agency OMD, also part of Omnicom Group, to help companies move beyond traditional advertising by creating ideas that can be turned into content, such as a cartoon series or a variety show on TV, that more effectively reaches their target audience.

The strategy is gaining popularity as media fragments into hundreds of TV and cable channels, magazines, videogames and Web sites, making it harder for marketers to reach target consumers.