ML Rogers Attracts Former Wolf Clients

NEW YORK Three additional clients have opted to follow former Wolf Group creative director Mike Rogers rather than putting their accounts in review, giving the 3-week-old ML Rogers estimated billings of more than $100 million.

Immediately following the announcement of the Wolf’s New York closure on Jan. 31, Rogers contacted the office’s former clients, many of whom had work in development or production, and offered to take on the accounts with a staff of about 25 former Wolf employees.

In addition to the previously reported $80 million Scotts account, Rogers managed to persuade Aamco, Arbor Mist Wine and NASA to place their accounts with his team.

“At the end of the day, great ads aren’t about companies, it’s about people,” said Bill Encherman, president of Canadaigua Wine Company in Canadaigua, N.Y., which produces Arbor Mist. “I have the same team working on my account. There’s a different name on the wall, but I’m not buying the name. I’m buying the performance.”

Encherman said Arbor Mist, which advertises during the spring and summer months, was already well into development when Toronto-based Wolf Group Integrated Communications closed its New York office. Encherman said ML Rogers would break a single spot in mid-May for the brand, which spent nearly $10 million on TV ads in 2003, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Aamco, which spent nearly $15 million on ads in 2003, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, also placed its account with the new shop, Rogers said. “Aamco was always a pretty active account and we’re actually working on a number of initiatives with them,” he said. The Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based client could not be reached for comment.

Rogers also fielded a project from NASA in Washington, D.C. NASA hired Wolf to create communications and educational materials in December, said Robin-Marie Williams, president of Harmonic International, the strategic agency that oversees the production of such work. Williams said the scope of that project was still in flux and would not disclose the budget. NASA spent about $1 million on measured media in 2003, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

A representative with CIT Group in Livingston, N.J., which spent about $10 million on ads last year, declined comment on the future of the company’s account. Sources said that CIT has also taken its business to ML Rogers.

A representative of former Wolf New York client Equal, said parent company Merisant is in the final stages of a review and would choose a new shop by early April. The Chicago-based client about $15 million on ads in 2003, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.