Lois Splits Its Chicago Operation

Agencies Combined in 1996 Never Gelled, Says Fogarty Executive
CHICAGO–A cultural division between the shops it combined in Chicago three years ago contributed to Lois USA’s decision to split the former Lois/EJL and open a second agency here under its Fogarty Klein & Partners banner, according to an FK&P executive.
Lois/EJL, the result of a 1996 merger of Lois’ Chicago office and Eisaman, Johns & Laws, has been split into two shops: Lois Chicago and Fogarty Klein & Partners 312. The latter will be run largely by former EJ&L executives.
“They felt one [shop] was inhibiting the other,” said Rich Klein, co-founder of Houston-based FK&P. “Both are successful groups, but once they put them together it didn’t work. I admire them for admitting it.”
Lois USA president Ted Veru differed, saying the decision to open a second office in Chicago was not a result of any culture clash. But both Klein and Veru said the move is a step toward building a national network for FK&P, an original plan agreed to when Lois acquired Fogarty in 1997. It also frees Lois USA to go after conflicting accounts in the same market.
FK&P 312 (the number refers to downtown Chicago’s area code) starts out with a new client, World Championship Wrestling. Mike deMaio, who headed EJ&L and will serve as president of the new office, said the WCW work will mostly involve direct and database marketing. Billings were not disclosed, but deMaio said it was a “significant piece of business.”
The shop’s other clients–Corona Extra Beer, the Chicago Cubs and regional work for Valvoline–all come from Lois/EJL Chicago. Those accounts are worth about $25 million.
Also coming to FK&P 312 from Lois/EJL are executive vice president and creative director Mike Watterkotte and about 20 staffers.
Lois Chicago and will retain Jewel Food Stores, Osco Drug, Alberto-Culver, Turtle Wax, BASF Corp. and KFC Chicagoland as clients.
The agency is due to lose all of its Chicagoland Chevy Dealers Association business as a result of the marketing reorganization at General Motors. It has also lost its Chupa Chups candy and Car-X brake and muffler accounts.
The agency’s current pitch for the $5-6 million Cooper Tire account will be taken over by FK&P 312.
FK&P’s billings totaled $186 million in 1997. Lois/EJL Chicago billed $258 million.