Kovel, Fuller to Merge

Each Principal Finds a Long-Sought Partner
LOS ANGELES–Lee Kovel and John Fuller are joining forces to create a new Los Angeles agency called Kovel/Fuller & Partners, said executives involved in the deal.
Although the deal was not finalized at press time, Kovel confirmed the plan last week. The union is projected to include all clients from Kovel and Fuller’s shops–Kovel Kresser & Partners, Venice, Calif., and The Fuller Group, Los Angeles, respectively–to create an agency with more than $55 million in billings. Clients include Playboy, Nintendo, Carrows and Jiffy Lube. The partners, both 47, would each control a 50 percent stake.
At press time, the relationship between Kovel Kresser and its majority owner, DIK Asatsu in Tokyo, was still unclear.
The marriage fills a void for both principals. Lee Kovel has been searching for a top account management partner since Bob Kresser left nearly three years ago to form production company K2 Communications. John Fuller, meanwhile, has been looking for a heavyweight creative partner since Cary Sacks sold his share in the former Sacks/Fuller in 1996.
If the deal goes through, Kovel/Fuller will position itself as an independent, entrepreneurial shop that combines “strategic thinking” with “out-of-the-box creative.” Said Kovel, “This market is ripe for some new approaches. By being independent and a bit scrappy, we hope to do just that.”
The prospective partners have even garnered their first client, winning the estimated $5 million account of Barona Casino in San Diego.
Kovel Kresser recently broke a new campaign for Playboy under the theme “Are you ready for the year of the rabbit?” which included Playboy’s first outdoor ad in Times Square.