New Team Takes Reins at MARC’s Chicago Office

A second generation of management at K&R MARC intends to tap more deeply into its Pittsburgh-based parent’s national network to spur growth.

The $50 million agency, founded 30-years ago by Bill Keroff, will take on the MARC USA moniker in January, the final cut from its lengthy history as Keroff & Rosenberg.

Keroff and his partner Chas Rosenberg, who joined two years after Keroff opened the agency, are retiring, leaving in charge three-year shop veterans Gary Young, who takes over as president, and Bill Brichta, chief creative officer.

Both are veterans of the Chicago ad scene. Young worked on GMC and Oldsmobile at N.W. Ayer & Partners in Chicago and had previously been at Bently, Barnes & Lynn, which like Ayer no longer exists.

Their mission is to leverage the relationship with MARC, a $670 million network of regional shops.

“If I can build a $300 million (flagship) agency in Pittsburgh, I certainly can build a $700 million agency in Chicago,” said Tony Bucci, MARC USA’s CEO.

Bucci’s admitted hyperbole aside, larger things are expected from the shop under its new leaders, with Young saying he expects to at least double billings. “We’re anxious to become a part of MARC, rather than K&R Marc,” Young said.

The succession to Young and Brichta was envisioned when MARC bought the agency in September 1998.

“It’s a 20th century company (Keroff and Rosenberg) worked very hard to build, Young said. “We’re ready to become part of something bigger.”

The shop shares True Value as a client with its Pittsburgh headquarters and also counts the Chicago Tribune and CNA Insurance among its accounts.

“We have a number of great Chicago names as clients,” Brichta said. “This is our opportunity to get more national pieces of business.”