Seidel O’Neil Rides Into Sunset

Seidel O’Neil & Partners, the feisty San Francisco shop that outlasted Saatchi & Saatchi, Lowe Lintas & Part ners and other big names as the Bay Area economy col lapsed, is splitting up.

Agency partners and creative directors Howard Seidel and D.J. O’Neil have decided to go their separate ways—Seidel to focus on retail advertising and O’Neil to concentrate on brand strategy. The pair formed their shop in 1995 before the Internet boom and worked with many online clients in the late 1990s, such as and

“This may be the first time in the history of advertising where there truly is an amicable split,” said Seidel, 40. “We both had different things we wanted to do long term. I wanted to focus on retail because we have a new approach called ‘urgent branding,’ which just doesn’t say, ‘Sale, sale, sale,’ but can build a retail client’s image.”

Seidel’s new venture is called Seidel Advertising, which will take the Ross Discount Stores, the Magnussen Group auto mobile dealerships and printing com pany APS International ac counts. Close to signing deals with two other clients, the new shop will likely bill be tween $8-10 million.

With billings of roughly $5-7 million, O’Neil’s new venture, named HUB, is a brand strategy and communications firm. His shop will take the Lombardi Sports and Veltec Sports USA accounts, as well as Mercedes-Benz of Oakland and San Francisco and Powell fishing rods.

“Our idea is to help people get the most out of their marketing dollars,” said O’Neil, 36.

“He will continue to do great,” O’Neil said of Seidel. “The big pro of working with Ho ward was that he was equally vested in tackling any problems we had, and he was really funny.”

Seidel O’Neil had a staff of 10, which will be split between the two shops, O’Neil said.

Seidel O’Neil was best known for its radio work for Ross, Lombardi sports and numerous dot-com clients.