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3 Agency Vets Become Brand-Strategy Consultants

New York Three agency veterans have teamed up to found a brand-strategy consultancy called Integrated Brand Communications. At the helm of the new shop are: Bill Hamilton, former worldwide creative director at J. Walter Thompson; Bill Whitehead, most recently regional president of the Americas for Bates; and Jim Consolantis, former chief integration officer at Ogilvy & Mather in New York. The principals intend to pull from a pool of talent with varied skill sets and category experience for a wide range of assignments.



StrawberryFrog 'Drives Alive' For Mitsubishi SUV

Boston StrawberryFrog will launch a Mitsubishi Motors Europe campaign next week that aims to capture the thrill of driving on city roads. A 30-second TV spot breaks May 12 throughout Europe and launches the Outlander compact sport utility vehicle. The commercial shows a young woman picking up a hitchhiker in her new Outlander and then racing through the urban landscape. When she lets the hitchhiker out, a close-up shows his arm hair standing on edge. The tagline, "Drive alive," appears onscreen as a voiceover introduces the new SUV. The Amsterdam shop also created print, outdoor and interactive work and will help the automaker launch more than a dozen other vehicles in the next two years. Annual spending is estimated to be $35 million.



Miller Shifts Media Effort Into 'High' Gear

CHICAGO Miller Brewing Co. plans to step up the media efforts behind its subpremium Miller High Life brand this month with new spots by Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., and placement in telecasts of major sporting events such as the Stanley Cup playoffs, Major League Baseball and the Indianapolis 500, as well as ESPN Classic programming, a client rep said. Miller spends $14 million on High Life, CMR reported. Meanwhile, Miller expects to receive creative-strategy ideas promoting its brands from roster shops before the summer begins, the rep said.

Cronin Exits Namesake Shop; Bowen Follows

ATLANTA BaylessCronin executive creative director Jerry Cronin resigned Friday from the Omnicom shop he joined four years ago, and was followed hours later by president Steve Bowen, the agency confirmed. CEO and founding partner Tim Bayless is expected to take on some of Cronin's duties, as well as new-business development for the Atlanta shop. Neither Cronin nor Bowen could be reached. Recently, the agency's largest client, Church's Chicken, redistributed its $15 million ad budget, eliminating the shop's lead agency status. The shop continues to handle promotional projects, but more creative work has been handed to South African agency Gecko Motion in Johannesburg, sources said.



Omnicom to Add Siegelgale to DAS

NEW YORK Omnicom Group is acquiring brand consultancy Siegelgale, which will join the Diversified Agency Services group, the holding company said. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Alan Siegel co-founded the New York shop with Robert Gale in 1969, and the agency will revert to its original name, Siegel & Gale. Clients include 3M, Caterpillar and the U.S. Air Force.



Powerade, 'Matrix' Link In Wieden Campaign

LOS ANGELES Coca-Cola's Powerade brand last week launched a national advertising campaign linked to the May 15 release of the Warner Bros. film Matrix Reloaded. The effort supports a new 32-ounce Powerade drink that mixes black-cherry and anise flavorings. Four 30-second TV spots from Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., show a man in sunglasses and a dark suit sitting in a green room, encouraging viewers to "Drink more Powerade." Powerade spent $11 million on measured media last year, according to CMR. While the new beverage will not appear in the film, the brand has been integrated into a Matrix Reloaded videogame, which also launches May 15.