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Micell Names Howard, Merrell

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N.C. Shop Will Promote New Dry-Cleaning Process, Retail Chain
ATLANTA--Howard, Merrell & Partners has been appointed the first agency of record for Micell Technologies, creator of a new dry-cleaning process being introduced through its Hangers Cleaners retail franchises.
Annual billings were estimated at $6-10 million.
The decision comes after a review that included three other agencies. Micell Technologies president Kirk Kinsell confirmed two North Carolina shops were involved: McKinney & Silver in Raleigh and Trone Advertising in Greensboro. He said a third shop, Rockett Burkhead & Winslow in Raleigh, withdrew from the review.
"Primarily, [HM&P] demonstrated their ability to handle both business-to-business and business- to-consumer strategies," Kinsell said. "Our growth model is through franchising, and [HM&P's] proven marketing and branding expertise will help attract investors and entrepreneurs from outside the category and later help build the businesses."
Mike Ganey, the Raleigh, N.C., agency's business group director, said the client needed "people to get the strategy right and then make a seamless transition into creative.
"We've got to do this upfront [research] work, and we've got to help him sell franchises," Ganey said. "After [that], we help drive traffic to the franchises by communicating the benefits to consumers."
The Hangers Cleaners chain relies on proprietary technology that replaces the chemicals currently used by most dry cleaners. Micell Technologies in Research Triangle Park, N.C., claims the result is a more effective dry-cleaning process that is gentler on fabrics and is more environmentally friendly.
"[This is] a new position in traditional brick-and-mortar business that can revolutionize the dry-cleaning industry," said HM&P chief executive officer Mac Merrell.
"It's like, 'These are your clothes. These are your clothes on drugs,' " Kinsell added.
Currently, 11 Hangers Cleaners operate in North Carolina and Rhode Island. The next franchise will open in Nebraska, followed by up to 100 more retail locations in 10 new states by the end of this year.
"This isn't just a great new technology play, it has a real high service component that goes with it," said Ganey. "This is one of the last great roll-up opportunities left in the U.S."
Kinsell said the first advertising would likely break in the summer.