Intermark Merges 3 in B’ham

Three advertising and marketing agencies owned by the Intermark Group of Birmingham, Ala., have merged into one entity, Intermark chief executive officer William Harvill said last week.
Strong Automotive Merchandising, David Jefferson & Associates and Vulcan Advertising, all located in Birmingham, will now operate as Strong Communications.
The corporate restructuring comes in the wake of the largest of the three companies, Strong Automotive Merchandising, losing $25 million of Chevrolet’s Southeast dealership advertising business.
Strong was one of more than 60 U.S. agencies affected by General Motors’ decision last December to consolidate advertising at five national shops. As of April 1, Chevy will be handled by Campbell-Ewald Advertising of Warren, Mich.
“It’s an outgrowth of the loss of the Chevrolet business,” acknowledged Harvill, who also has assumed chief executive officer status at the newly formed agency.
“We had a lot of core competencies that overlapped, and there were efficiencies that could be made with bringing them all together,” said Jake McKenzie, director of the agency’s new-media production offshoot, Strong Interactive.
The future of the three separate companies’ presidents “hasn’t been nailed down as yet,” said Harvill. “We’ve got several options. We’re wrestling with whether to go to . . . almost a team concept with a team dedicated to automotive and non-automotive.”
He said the creation of the new Strong Interactive division reflects the agency’s increased Internet focus. The unit will provide Web site design as well as CD-ROM and interactive kiosk services.
Strong is currently one of seven finalists for the Continental General Tire ad account, said to be worth $8.5-10 million.–with Tanya Gazdi