Merkley Grows Ferrero Biz

NEW YORK Merkley + Partners has added four new creative assignments from Ferrero USA, a client since 2004, the agency confirmed.

The Omnicom Group shop declined to reveal spending for the new tasks, which came without reviews. Sources, however, put the total budget at $15-20 million.

Merkley has added interactive duties on Tic Tac; ad duties on two new flavors of Tic Tac; ad duties on two new flavors of Tic Tac Bold; and ad duties on Rondnoir, a new line of dark chocolate that will hit stores this fall.

Previously, the shop did project work on Rocher chocolates and handled Tic Tac and Tic Tac Bold.

All told, Ferrero USA last year spent more than $25 million in major measured media, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The major media spend through June of this year exceeded $10 million, per Nielsen.

Separately, Merkley, whose other clients include Mercedes-Benz USA, Arby’s and Axa Equitable, is searching for a new chief marketing officer to succeed Morgan Shorey, who is leaving this week after eight months at the New York shop. Both Merkley CEO Alex Gellert and Shorey said the agency and CMO weren’t a good fit.

Shorey, who is launching a consultancy called Tall Tree Business Development, said, “I was unable to create the kind of change that we both wanted for the agency.”

She added: “What I’m getting ready to do next is work with non-competing agencies on pro-active business development. That’s my skill set and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Shorey will be based in Richmond, Va., but keep an office in New York.

Merkley’s search has just begun and Gellert hopes to fill the post in the fourth quarter of 2007. In the meantime, other executives will assume the agency’s new business duties.