January Finally Over, Creative Alliance Arrives

The January Group has taken the name of its partner, the Creative Alliance, in an effort to increase recognition and establish a greater regional foothold.

The Chicago office of the January Group was formed in 1998 following the dissolution of Lois/EJL, whose New York parent went bankrupt. The agency was created primarily to handle the Chicago franchisee business for Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The shop had a partnership with the Louisville, Ky.-based Creative Alliance, the national retail agency for KFC. The January Group’s name wasn’t changed sooner in order to ease concerns its franchisee groups might have in being connected with a national KFC agency.

Now that it’s done, the agency expects to have more of a presence in the Chicago market, hoping its new brand helps it ramp up new business efforts, said president Jim Signorelli.

“We’re meeting this week to pull together an approach for new business,” he said.

The move is intended to extend what the Chicago office can offer, executives said.

“It muscles us up and fleshes us out as a more full-service office here,” said Jennifer LeMay, the shop’s executive creative director. LeMay shares that title with Larry Walters, with whom she worked at Euro RSCG Tatham. CA’s chief creative officer is former Tatham creative head Bob Welke.

LeMay was hired by the Creative Alliance last fall, at which time the January Group’s name change was anticipated [Adweek, Oct. 9]. Also at the agency is Greg Clausen, a veteran Chicago executive who is executive vice president of media and development.

The Chicago agency now has about 15 employees and claims billings of $20 million.

The change to Creative Alliance is also taking place at January & Associates entities in Tampa, Fla., and Pittsburgh, the agency said.