Krimstein-BKS Merger Prepares Shops for Future

By Matt Surman

NEW YORK–In a move to ensure creative succession, Biederman, Kelly & Shaffer is merging with 4-year-old Krimstein/Clapps following a deal that was signed last week, agency executives confirmed.

Krimstein/Clapps principals Ken Krimstein and John Clapps will both assume the title of executive vice president and co-creative director. The shop will retain the name Biederman, Kelly & Shaffer for the time being. Barry Biederman and John Kelly remain chairman and president and chief executive officer, respectively.

‘The eventual idea is that if you have a dominant creative type you don’t plan a succession at the last minute. Barry will be around for quite a while; this gives us the chance to let everyone get to know everyone else,’ said Kelly.

While Krimstein and Clapps will take over the majority of the creative department and a substantial share of the management role, Biederman will continue to produce creative work on the Lands’ End account and Kelly will handle day-to-day management, Krimstein said. ‘We feel there’s a good synergy. Our primarily creative outlook (fits well with) their great management and loyal accounts,’ he added.

Both agencies’ clients have been notified of the merger and are expected to stay with the new agency. Krimstein/Clapps, New York, brings $8 million in billings to the table, with clients such as Cartoon Network and Rihga Royal Hotel. BK&S here, which currently claims $60 million in billings, already handles the accounts of Lands’ End, Tri-State Cadillac Dealers Association and the New York University School of Continuing Education.

Krimstein and Kelly, both ex-Ogilvy & Mather staffers, originally met at an agency reunion two years ago. ‘We have the Ogilvy bond,’ Kelly said.

‘We didn’t know a lot about them when they approached us. Now we can see that there’s a real culture of quality there,’ Krimstein said.

Krimstein/Clapps is in the process of moving its staff of four into Biederman’s Park Avenue office space.

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