Di Zinno Thompson, NYCA Agree to Merge

LOS ANGELES In what the agencies called “a merger of strengths,” independents Di Zinno Thompson and NYCA said today they would join forces under the latter’s name.

Effective May 1, expanded NYCA operations will continue to be led by the shop’s chief executive officer and creative director, Michael Mark.

“This is all about growth for our clients,” Mark said, explaining that the “strategic merger” was the result of two months of talks and preparation between he and Tom Di Zinno, chairman of the eponymous San Diego-based agency.

Although Mark declined to provide financial specifics, he said the shops’ strategic affiliation would increase NYCA billings almost 20 percent, from $30 million to $36 million.

The partnership would allow NYCA to be “in a more competitive space and provide clients with new creative and tactical prospects. We looked at every opportunity to grow business,” Mark said.

“It makes sense,” Di Zinno added. “NYCA was our most ardent competitor . . . and a pain in the butt.”

No client or staff conflicts were apparent, according to the agency principals. Di Zinno said his clients were supportive and excited about the merger. Current Di Zinno accounts, including the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau and National City Mile of Cars, would be integrated into NYCA’s roster, Mark said. NYCA clients include the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Eastlake Company, Penta Water and TaylorMade Golf.

Di Zinno said he would continue to supervise established clients’ media plans for the remainder of the year.

The merger would boost NYCA’s staff total to 38, all of whom will be stationed at the shop’s beachfront Encinitas, Calif., office, according to Mark. “There’s just enough room to fit everyone in,” Mark said. “We’re working on new titles now.”

While Di Zinno said some of his agency’s 15 employees would seek opportunities elsewhere, president Tammy Haughey, creative services director Annie Pearson and creative director Robert Borges, among others, were set to join NYCA.

Di Zinno said he would turn his attention to a former side project, Brainweave, a company designed to craft “out of the norm business solutions . . . outside of the advertising box.”

Continuing to work from his office in San Diego’s Little Italy district, Di Zinno said he would also serve as an independent consultant on various NYCA accounts, with a focus on “whatever they ask me to do.”