Biggs/Gilmore Builds Staff, Roster

Ernie Cox Named Creative Chief; Valent Consolidates Account
CHICAGO–Biggs/Gilmore Communications in Kalamazoo, Mich., has a new executive creative director and a new account for him to oversee.
Ernie Cox has assumed leadership of the $68 million agency’s 35-person creative staff, succeeding Bill Truesdale, who was promoted to executive vice president in charge of agency operations.
Cox last post was at J. Walter Thompson’s Chicago office as a senior vice president and group creative director. Prior to that he had served as executive creative director at Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago.
“I talked to about 15 agencies since leaving JWT last year,” Cox said. “Biggs/Gilmore is a very good agency that wants to be great. That’s an appealing opportunity.”
While Cox said he will miss the Chicago ad community, Biggs/Gilmore “offered the best opportunity, which just happened to be in Kalamazoo, Mich.,” he said. “I sat down with 36 people over three days here. I felt they wanted everyone to be a part of the decision [about the new creative chief], and I liked that.”
One lure in particular was Biggs/Gilmore’s increasing commitment to interactive advertising, Cox said. “Everybody says they have that [capability]. Here, they not only said they had it, they asked if I could meet with the people who do it.
“The Web group has six people. In a total staff of 85, that’s a real commitment,” he said. “What I liked [about the agency] is that they do what they say they do–in all areas.”
To further expand that area of expertise, Biggs/Gilmore last week formed a strategic partnership with UUNet Technologies in Fairfax, Va. That, said Bruce Davis, the agency’s director of interactive communications, will allow Biggs/Gilmore to become an Internet service provider for its clients. This can provide greater security for electronic commerce applications, he said.
Another area of the agency’s expertise is agricultural marketing. Biggs/Gilmore last week was awarded the consolidated agricultural account for Valent U.S.A. Corp.
Previously, the business had been split: Biggs/Gilmore handled direct mail and public relations and McCann-Erickson’s San Francisco office handled broadcast and print creative duties and all media buying responsibilities.
The 25-year-old agency’s client roster includes Baja Boats, Sea Ray Boats, Kellogg, and Pharmacia & Upjohn.