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Merkley Backs Startup

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NEW YORK--Just four months after Eisnor Interactive closed its doors, the shop's former president, Sam Ewen, is making a second attempt at guerrilla marketing. This time, with his new shop Interference, he will focus on traditional clients with support from Merkley Newman Harty & Partners.

Ewen's co-founder is Michael Glickman, previously president of Performance Event Marketing, a staffing and casting company that specialized in promotions. That shop is being absorbed into the new entity, which launches this week.

Interference will use unconventional methods, such as street theater, living billboards, and community events, to deliver brand messages.

"As people become more and more apathetic towards general forms of advertising--whether they be print ads, billboards, TV--I felt that there was still a place to deliver a distinct message to someone," said Ewen. His prior agency, which was backed by Omnicom, provided offline promotions for online companies.

The new venture has nonfinancial support from Merkley, which is supplying the startup with office space at its New York headquarters and access to its stable of clients. Merkley has introduced Interference to clients such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, BellSouth and Fila.

Merkley, owned by Omnicom, worked with Eisnor after the holding company took a minority stake in the latter. At the time, Steven Harty, Merkley's president, was named to Eisnor's board.

The two agencies will pitch certain accounts together, with the guerrilla marketer offering its services to Merkley clients that need them.

The partnership allows Interference to work with other agencies outside the Omnicom network.