agency news

Omnicom Group of Cos. is merging one of its direct-marketing shops, Team South, into Merkley Newman Harty. All three companies are in New York. Team South already works with MNH for mutual clients BellSouth, Pitney Bowes and Oxford Health Plans. Team South will retain an identity separate from MNH, although its name may change. Team South managing director Francine Edelman will be promoted to president of the unit, reporting to MNH managing director Steve Harty. The merger takes effect April 1.
MNH, meanwhile, broke a new corporate-image campaign for BellSouth, repositioning the Atlanta-based telecommunications company as a friendly provider of Internet-driven services, with a new tagline: “Connect and create something.” One TV spot features a family with three pagers, five e-mail addresses, two Web sites, 160 TV channels and “just one rule: not at the dinner table.” Backed by more than $35 million, the campaign includes TV, print and outdoor ads.
Dentsu USA in New York has forged a nonequity alliance with Oasis, a New York shop with billings of $35 million. Dentsu and Oasis share two clients: Toyota and Canon.
Bates USA created a campaign for the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2000 Biennial Exhibition. The New York museum’s showcase of contemporary art, themed, “The Art of Discovering American Art,” debuts March 23. Six print executions from the New York agency will run through May in newspapers, magazines and outdoor displays throughout the New York area. Two teasers that broke last month invite viewers to discover future stars of the art world by highlighting participants in past shows. One execution reads, “1932: Georgia O’Keeffe; 1959: Jasper Johns; 2000: ?” Another reads simply, “Love it. Hate it. Don’t miss it.” Three additional executions break after the opening of the show; headlines include, “Miss these artists and forget going to cocktail parties for the next couple of years”; “Everyone in the show gets their fifteen minutes. Some may get even more”; and “You can wait and see these artists when they’re so popular you can’t get in or go see them now.”
McCann-Erickson, New York, launched a new spot for Sprint introducing two calling plans, Sprint 1000 Nights and Sprint 1000 Weekends. The ad stars actress Sela Ward and features a montage of text and the number “2” in such combinations as “Big Easy 2 Big Apple” and “brother 2 brother.” Meanwhile, Ward dances to a modified version of Lou Bega’s song, “Mambo No. 5.”
Lowe Lintas & Partners’ work for Mercedes-Benz won best of show Addys in both print and broadcast categories at the American Advertising Federation’s American Advertising Awards in New York. Executions honored were a print spread, titled, “Words,” that plays upon the notion that a picture is worth a thousand words and a spot, called, “Artist,” that features famous artists constructing different parts of a Mercedes. DeVito/Verdi won the most Addys, taking 12 awards, while Cliff Freeman and Partners nabbed nine trophies and Ogilvy & Mather won seven. The awards were the first step in a three-tier creative competition, which also includes district and national contests.
Kirshenbaum, Bond & Partners’ holiday ads for Kansas City Power & Light won the “Best of Newspaper” honor in the print-campaign category at the Feb. 19 Kansas City Omni Awards. Dawn Bello, art director at the New York agency, and copywriter Natalie Kaufman were awarded $1,000 for their efforts. They will use the prize to fund further award applications and case studies.
The Gardner-Nelson Project, New York, created a campaign for Wilmington, Del.-based Two 30-second spots that broke last week introduce the new tagline, “The bank that saves you time makes you money.” The ads suggest applying for a home-equity loan through WingspanBank as a way of financing a college education or an addition to one’s house. The campaign includes national cable, network television and selected spot markets.
NCI Advertising, a subsidiary of Nelson Communications, New York, has been tapped by FYIQuest. The Greensboro, N.C.-based company selected the shop to market its HealthPad electronic tablet.
Primary Knowledge has added client, an online baby-products retailer. The New York-based Web intelligence-services company will provide Babygear with an analytics and data-management system designed for e-commerce.