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Deal Gives PHD Creative Component

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Like just about every media agency these days, PHD is building up its branded-entertainment bona fides. But unlike its peers, which have added account planners, network executives and interactive experts, the Omnicom Group shop has linked with a big-name creative.

PHD has entered into a joint venture with Roger Mosconi's 10-year-old branded-entertainment consultancy, Cooper Square Creative Group in New York. Mosconi, who started out as an art director, counts among his credits McCann-Erickson's 1979 "Mean Joe Greene" Coca-Cola spot and BBDO's 1987 Pepsi ad "Apartment 10G," starring a frazzled Michael J. Fox. CSCG has worked with ESPN, Fox and Hitachi, among other clients.

"We're not going down the road of offering creative services," said PHD USA CEO Steve Grubbs, who worked with Mosconi at BBDO from 1983-90. "Our clients are looking for big ideas to merge brand personality with content. We have a lot of very creative media people, but Roger and his partners bring things to the table we just couldn't do."

Mosconi's two partners are art director Nick Vitale (who helped create BBDO's "It's everywhere you want to be" Visa campaign and also worked at McCann-Erickson and J. Walter Thompson) and producer Jean-Claude Kauffmann (a veteran of Bozell, Saatchi & Saatchi and RSA Productions).

CSCG, which is moving into PHD's New York building, will help with client-specific concepts. PHD's clients include Chrysler, Reebok, Gap and Energizer.

"I have always referred to myself [as someone who works] in a new media environment," said Mosconi. "I was always downstairs in the [BBDO] media department, driving them crazy."

"He was the only creative who would talk to us," added Grubbs.

For Mosconi, of course, the $4 billion network provides a new kind of access. "[Potential clients] look at CSCG as a little company," he said, but not when "PHD is standing right behind me."