Lowe Folds LHC Into Mullen

The Lowe Group announced the merger of two of its independent agency brands, Mullen and Long Haymes Carr.

Staffers at both shops were notified of the merger last Wednesday.

The combined agency will have billings of $620 million and more than 500 employees.

Mullen’s offices in Wenham, Mass., and Detroit will retain their name while Long Haymes Carr in Winston-Salem, N.C., will be renamed Mullen/LHC.

Joe Grimaldi, president and CEO of Mullen, becomes CEO of the combined entity. Steve Zades, chairman and CEO of LHC, will move to The Lowe Group, New York, after facilitating the agency transition. His title could not be determined. He joined LHC in 1995 from Ammirati Puris Lintas.

LHC chief creative officer Mylene Pollock, who arrived in August 1999 from Ogilvy & Mather, New York, has been let go, along with Peter Mitchell, executive vice president and director of account services, hired last October from Saatchi & Saatchi, New York.

While both agencies experienced mixed financial performance over the past year, Grimaldi insisted that client losses did not play into the decision to merge the agencies.

LHC had posted below-average growth this past year, with a modest 12 percent increase in billings. The agency added creative work from TJX Corp. and Midway Airlines, but lost the $37 million creative account for R.J. Reynolds’ Winston brand as well as BellSouth Carolina’s wireless business.

“Both Mullen and LHC are exceptional agencies [which] share an entrepreneurial spirit and have proved extremely successful … over the past few years,” Zades said in a statement. “By strategically combining resources, we feel we will all benefit by being able to provide clients with a broader range of marketing and communications services.”

Mullen posted roughly 25 percent growth, according to Grimaldi, but lost Monster.com, L.L. Bean and the advertising portion of the Swiss Army Brands account. At the end of 2000, it added Agere Systems and Rational Software as clients.

Major clients of the combined agency include General Motors, Nextel Communications, Wachovia and Hanes. There are no client conflicts as a result of the merger, Grimaldi said.

Mullen has been part of The Lowe Group since April 1999; LHC joined Lowe following the merger with Ammirati Puris Lintas, which was announced in October 1999.