Davinci Selectwork isn't a traditional advertising or media agency.
The company in Dusseldorf, Germany, acts more like a project manager, working with a client's media buyers, planners and creative shops.
The agency says its practices saved DaimlerChrysler AG $20 million outside the United States last year.
"We make it happen," says Alex Crowther, CEO of Davinci's U.S. arm. "We make it work, and we always deliver a return on investment."
Crowther says his firm gets specific communications missions from clients such as DaimlerChrysler. Then it identifies the best resources to fill that mission and negotiates the scope of its work.
"If we're not getting efficiencies, we're not getting paid," Crowther says.
Companies' use of broad, nontraditional media options in the past few years has contributed to the growth of so-called communications channel services such as Davinci.
Mitsubishi Motors North America announced a new media model in April. The automaker hired Davinci to improve its communications channels. Mitsubishi also uses Davinci in markets outside the United States. It has targeted $15 million in annual savings from the effort.
Crowther says savings come mostly from greater efficiencies. But he adds that the firm has negotiated lower fees with ad agencies in a few instances.
Ian Beavis, senior vice president of marketing, product planning and public relations at Mitsubishi, cites "a status quo in the media space that resists change."
Beavis says: "Planners and buyers see Davinci as a threat, but I don't care, because I see real value in what they bring to the party."
He says Davinci fills a void in media buying and planning by providing "more intellectual power" and a holistic approach.