Merkley Wins Fuse

NEW YORK Fuse has selected Merkley + Partners here to handle creative and media planning duties on its ad account after a review, the Omnicom Group agency said.

The other finalist was independent Brooklyn Brothers in New York, said sources. New York-based consultancy MatchWorks managed the review.

Fuse here, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems’ Madison Square Garden, offers music videos, interviews and concert performances as both a cable network and a Web site (www.fuse.tv).

“Fuse will deliver an experience that uniquely taps into and enriches the intense emotional connection fans have with music and we look forward to partnering with Merkley + Partners to maximize exposure,” said Carol Goll, svp of marketing at Fuse, in a statement.

Previously, the network did not have a lead creative agency. (New York independent Amalgamated handled the brand several years ago.) Media buying duties remain at independent KSL Media here.

Merkley’s first work is expected in the first quarter. Group account director Tom Lamb, who also works on Axa Equitable and Ferrero Rocher, will manage the account.

Merkley CEO Alex Gellert described Fuse as a “cool channel that’s trying to focus on being a core music resource.”

After spending about $1 million in major media in both 2005 and 2006, Fuse spent slightly more than $2 million during the first 10 months of last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.