Ex-Black Rocketeers Launch Heat In S.F.

Black Rocket Euro RSCG has crashed here, and only Heat remains.

Eight ex-employees of Black Rocket have started Heat, led by former partner Steve Stone and Bob Ellis, the new venture’s general manager.

“Heat is what we do,” said Stone, who serves as the shop’s ecd. “Heat is what we offer. There are clients out there who may have brands or products that have gone cold. They need new ideas, smart ideas.”

Havas’ Euro RSCG, which bought a majority share in Black Rocket in 2001, retains rights to that name. The agency was down to just a few clients in November when it closed. Black Rocket made its name helping to build Yahoo! from a startup to a brand with sales of more than $1 billion. That relationship ended in August 2003 when the $40 million business was awarded to WPP’s Soho Square after a review.

Last October saw the departure of Stone’s former partner, John Yost. The remaining staff soon decided to see if it could attract clients to a new venture.

“We got to a point where we didn’t see a future working for the network,” Stone said. “So [we] started the new thing and tried to pick up the pieces.”

A Euro RSCG representative was not available for comment.

Heat claims $12 million in billings from clients Condé Nast Media, Aidell’s Gourmet Sausage, The Good For You division of PepsiCo and project work for Disneyland/Disneyworld.

At its closing, Black Rocket’s clients included Hannspree and Hannstar (Asian electronics) and Silicon Graphics, all of which were shifted to Euro RSCG here.