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Ex-Saatchi Execs Launch Agency

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Nearly a year after Saatchi & Saatchi closed here, the two head creatives from the office have opened their own shop.

Steve Silver and Curtis Melville, formerly creative directors at Saatchi, unveiled their new agency, silvermelville, last week. Both partners will serve as creative directors and pursue new business.

"We basically ran Saatchi; when you do that, it gets in your blood, and you are going to have to run something," said Silver, 42.

The agency was due to launch last fall, but those plans were sidelined by Sept. 11. The team later regrouped and landed two former Saatchi clients: Oakland, Calif.-based Score Educational Centers, a tutoring service owned by Kaplan, and The San Jose Mercury News. Combined billings are estimated at $5 million.

Melville, 41, voiced his confidence in the market. "At this time last year, people were running from San Francisco like rats from a sinking ship," he said. "We think it will be a great place again ... and we refuse to live anywhere that has a real summer."

The team is now settling on an office space—most likely in downtown San Francisco.

Silver joined Saatchi in 1996; Melville joined in 1997. The pair worked on accounts such as Hew lett-Packard and Barc lays Global Investors there.

Prior to Saatchi, Silver worked at Publicis & Hal Riney here, where he met Melville. Silver also worked on Lexus at Team One Advertising, El Segundo, Calif. Melville started his career at the former Hal Riney and Partners and then relocated to New York. He returned to Riney and worked there until joining Saatchi.