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Brandstorm Rolls a Deuce

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Brandstorm, Northlich's brand-strategy and new-product consultancy unit, has picked up work from Royal Numico and Calphalon Corp.

A consultant recommended Brandstorm to Royal Numico, a Dutch company that owns General Nutrition Centers and Rexall Sundown, said Jeff Du fresne, Brandstorm's evp and managing director.

Brandstorm, a division of Cin cinnati-based Northlich, plans to help Royal Numico roll out three new products, said Dufresne, declining to provide details.

Calphalon, the Perrysburg, Ohio-based cookware division of Newell Rubbermaid, also enlisted Brandstorm for strategy work, Dufresne said. Again, he declined to be more specific.

Billings on the projects were not disclosed. In total, Royal Numico spends about $35 million annually on advertising, according to CMR. The company's agency roster includes TBWA\Chiat\Day, which last month picked up branding work for GNC, and Cramer-Krasselt, which earlier this month added Royal Numico's Rexall Sundown account.

Calphalon, which spent only $1 million on advertising last year, according to CMR, handles most of its marketing chores in-house.

The Calphalon business resulted from a relationship between Du fresne and former client svp of marketing Brendan Sloano, who recently left the company. While still at Calphalon, Sloano sought out Dufresne for brand-strategy advice, and Calphalon president Kristy Juster subsequently hired the unit, Dufresne said.

Brandstorm has been doing well for Northlich, gaining new branding assign ments in February from Nestlé USA, Glendale, Calif.; Cargill, Min neapolis; and The Scotts Co. in Marys ville, Ohio.

The new-business run seems to point to an improving economy.

"I think this is a sign things are picking up in the market," said Rick Miller, Northlich's evp, managing director. "More companies are willing to invest in new products or revitalize their brands."

Brandstorm handles brand development and testing for products, including Procter & Gamble's Febreze fabric freshener and Femstat, a feminine hygiene product.