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Lois Splits Its Chicago Operation


Agencies Combined in 1996 Never Gelled, Says Fogarty Executive
CHICAGO--A cultural division between the shops it combined in Chicago three years ago contributed to Lois USA's decision to split the former Lois/EJL and open a second agency here under its Fogarty Klein & Partners banner, according to an FK&P executive.
Lois/EJL, the result of a 1996 merger of Lois' Chicago office and Eisaman, Johns & Laws, has been split into two shops: Lois Chicago and Fogarty Klein & Partners 312. The latter will be run largely by former EJ&L executives.
"They felt one [shop] was inhibiting the other," said Rich Klein, co-founder of Houston-based FK&P. "Both are successful groups, but once they put them together it didn't work. I admire them for admitting it."
Lois USA president Ted Veru differed, saying the decision to open a second office in Chicago was not a result of any culture clash. But both Klein and Veru said the move is a step toward building a national network for FK&P, an original plan agreed to when Lois acquired Fogarty in 1997. It also frees Lois USA to go after conflicting accounts in the same market.
FK&P 312 (the number refers to downtown Chicago's area code) starts out with a new client, World Championship Wrestling. Mike deMaio, who headed EJ&L and will serve as president of the new office, said the WCW work will mostly involve direct and database marketing. Billings were not disclosed, but deMaio said it was a "significant piece of business."
The shop's other clients--Corona Extra Beer, the Chicago Cubs and regional work for Valvoline--all come from Lois/EJL Chicago. Those accounts are worth about $25 million.
Also coming to FK&P 312 from Lois/EJL are executive vice president and creative director Mike Watterkotte and about 20 staffers.
Lois Chicago and will retain Jewel Food Stores, Osco Drug, Alberto-Culver, Turtle Wax, BASF Corp. and KFC Chicagoland as clients.
The agency is due to lose all of its Chicagoland Chevy Dealers Association business as a result of the marketing reorganization at General Motors. It has also lost its Chupa Chups candy and Car-X brake and muffler accounts.
The agency's current pitch for the $5-6 million Cooper Tire account will be taken over by FK&P 312.
FK&P's billings totaled $186 million in 1997. Lois/EJL Chicago billed $258 million.