Carmichael Takes Flight With Acquisition Deal

Buyout of VML Office Puts Northwest Airlines on Its Client Roster
CHICAGO–Carmichael Lynch takes on the task of repositioning Northwest Airlines through its acquisition of Valentine-McCormick-Ligibel’s Minneapolis office.
But, still hopeful of landing the combined account of client Norwest and its merger partner Wells Fargo & Co., Carmichael will not take on VML’s $1 million Marquette Bank account, which could be opened to a review. Bank officials could not be reached for comment.
The agency announced its acquisition of VML’s Minneapolis office last week. The terms of the deal call for Carmichael to absorb VML’s 38 employees and its largest piece of business: creative responsibilities for Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest Airlines’ estimated $18 million domestic account.
In addition to the airline account, the acquisition gives Carmichael added capacity to handle day-to-day operations on large retail accounts, said agency president and chief creative officer Jack Supple.
VML’s staffers will continue to work on the Northwest account through the merger and beyond, Supple said. Media First International in New York handles Northwest’s media buying.
VML’s headquarters office in Kansas City, Mo., is not part of the deal and will continue to handle Northwest’s corporate event, promotion and Internet advertising. VML partners John Valentine, Scott McCormick and Craig Ligibel are not joining Carmichael, but have signed contracts to consult on the Northwest account with Carmichael.
One of Carmichael’s first tasks will be to “relaunch” Northwest Airlines, which is emerging from a highly publicized pilots’ strike earlier this year that shut down the airline down for two weeks. The airline’s longtime tagline is, “Some people just know how to fly.”
In addition to Carmichael and VML, Northwest’s roster includes Foote, Cone & Belding, New York, which handles international advertising; and Minneapolis agencies Hunt-Adkins, which handles trade advertising, and Carlson Marketing Communications, which handles WorldPerks and direct marketing.