agency news

A NEW YORK
Euro RSCG Worldwide acquired Internet-communications and public relations firm Middleberg + Associates. Middleberg, New York, will be a wholly owned subsidiary and will operate as a separate unit within Euro RSCG’s corporate-communications group. The agency will be known as Middleberg Euro RSCG. Don Middleberg, the agency’s founder, will remain CEO. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Middleberg has billings of approximately $20 million.
Howard Smith, an art director who helped create work for Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft and Hyundai, died recently. He was 49 years old. During an advertising career that spanned more than 25 years, Smith worked for agencies that included Scali, McCabe, Sloves and Backer Spielvogel, both New York. Smith’s work at Backer Spielvogel included a Miller Lite beer spot in which a group of beer drinkers having a barbecue are invaded by aliens who all resemble comedian
Rodney Dangerfield. He also did work at the agency for the Hyundai campaign tagged, “Cars that make sense.” Recently, Smith had been developing a computer-animation company with his wife, Ann, called Aardvark Graphics. He is survived by her and his 2-year-old son, Sam.
Since opening in mid-March, Dirty Water Interactive has gained five clients, said founder and chief creative officer Sam Gulisano, who left FCB earlier this year to start the new venture. Gulisano had been promoted to co-chief creative director at FCB, New York, but said he felt the entrepreneurial lure of clients such as FlightTime, an executive flight-charter service, All Connect, a utilities-connection service, USendit.com, a database-management company, Howstuffworks.com, an information site on just that–from combustion engines to toasters–and I-Escrow, a company that serves as a money-management intermediary between auction sites and bidders. Now in temporary quarters, the agency is moving to New York’s TriBeCa on July 1. Its number until then is (212) 309-2730.
A&E Cable Network, New York, working through Horizon Media, also New York, has signed with Sweet Logo, a media company specializing in complimentary confection advertising, for two campaigns this month and in July. The campaigns will promote the network’s series Biography at the ProMax Convention in New Orleans and the Cable Television Advertising and Marketing Convention in Boston. Sweet Logo, New York, distributes individually wrapped after-dinner mints in restaurants, hotels, beauty salons and day spas in various cities. The mint wrappers convey advertising messages.
Btldesign, a branding and interactive agency in New York, has been selected by the Amerex Group, a fashion-outerwear company in New York, to redesign its Web site to help increase brand awareness. The site will be launched in July.
Ford Models, New York, has formed Ford Music, a marketing, advertising and communications division of the modeling agency, to represent music celebrities in the fashion and advertising worlds. Recent bookings include a Priceline.com spot with singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb and a Twix candy commercial with singer Hoku. Julie Levine and Sharon Ainsberg will head the division, which has offices in New York and Los Angeles.
Eliot Kang, president/CEO of Kang & Lee Advertising, New York and Los Angeles, was honored by the Asian American Federation at its recent Gala Benefit. The event, part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month festivities, paid tribute to business leaders and entrepreneurs in the Asian-American community.
MetLife Institutional Business and FCB, New York, were presented with the Best Business-to-Business Print Campaign award from the Financial Communications Society at its recent annual Portfolio Awards. The campaign, “MetLife is easier,” has appeared nationally in trade and consumer publications.
JSM composer/sound designer Andy Bloch and executive producer Joel Simon have created an original composition that is used in a spot for KeyCorp, Cleveland. The commercial, titled “Airplane,” promotes KeyCorp’s financial-planning expertise and was created by Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis. JSM is based in New York.
Karen Spencer Design, Armonk, received nine Gold Awards from the Advertising Club of Westchester’s Big “W” creative competition. The agency won for its work on GiantBear.com, which included the design of a corporate logo, a corporate brochure, a product brochure called The Future of Wireless, a sales kit, a trade-show booth and trade-show promotional apparel. The agency also received five silver and five bronze awards.
The International Association of Web Masters and Designers has awarded follis.com, the Web site of Follis Advertising, New York, its 2000-01 Golden Web Award.
A NEW JERSEY
Advertising and public relations firm Gilbert Whitney & Johns, Whippany, has been renamed Brushfire. The agency was purchased by two of its senior officers, John Leonardi, president and executive creative director, and Dennis Zolnierzak, executive vice president.
Photobition Group, a display-graphics production company in Morristown, has launched 2DayDisplay.com, an e-commerce service that provides graphic-display booths in 48-hour time frames.
A PENNSYLVANIA
Craftopia.com, which sells arts and crafts products online, has named Goose, Philadelphia, its first agency. Billings were undisclosed. The shop, which specializes in gender-oriented marketing, will primarily target women for the client’s online and direct-marketing campaign, which launches this summer. The West Chester-based company is backed by CEO Harold Poliskin, who also helped launch the QVC Network and Software Digest. Craftopia.com is partly owned by Southern Progress Corp., Birmingham, Ala., which is a publishing subsidiary of Time Warner.
MayoSeitz Media, Philadelphia, will handle media planning and buying for McDonald’s Northeast Pennsylvania Co-op, working with Source Communications, Hackensack, N.J., the agency of record. The Co-op is made up of 20 McDonald’s owners and 65 McDonald’s stores in the Wilkes Barre-Scranton area.
Marketing communications agency Backe Communications, Ardmore, has won two Philly Gold Awards, in the Consumer Magazines and Pharmaceutical/Medical Promotional categories. The agency won for its fractional, single-entry, four-color ad for La Jonquille restaurant in Devon and its Clinical Labs Drug Testing brochure for SmithKline Beecham