New York Agencies Eye Atlanta, Miami Markets

Two New York shops have designs on mining new business in the South.
Merkley Newman Harty has named Rick Rabe managing director and creative director of its Atlanta office. MNH opened here more than two years ago when it won BellSouth Telecommunications.
Separately, Deutsch chief executive officer Donny Deutsch confirmed he would open an office in the Miami area, probably by the end of the summer.
The appointment of Rabe signifies MNH’s desire to expand its Atlanta client list. Though BellSouth did not ask it to refrain from new business pitches, the shop felt pursuing additional Atlanta clients would have been improper.
“The agency came into a community that was well established,” said Rabe, a creative director at MNH in New York. “We didn’t think that it was fair that we jump right in. We want to take a nice guy’s approach.”
“We wanted our right to compete in Atlanta,” said MNH principal Parry Merkley. “But we’ve been working quietly for the past year to cultivate opportunities that we hope will result in new relationships in 1998.
“As a founding member of the MNH creative team, Rick was literally pitching and winning business even before Newman and Harty put their names on the door.”
Rabe will commute between New York and here for the next two months. He plans to move to Atlanta in June.
Deutsch is looking at South Florida and sees something lacking in the market. “You’re talking about one of the most dynamic cities in America,” he said. “It’s on the forefront of a lot of cultural and cutting edge things, and I think that makes [it] a great opportunity for a cutting-edge creative shop. Nobody has taken advantage of that.”
Deutsch said he was not interested in acquiring an existing agency, and could open his doors with regional Mitsubishi car dealer business. That would allow him to enter the market his way. “We have kind of a pure culture,” he said. “To us, we think we have a great brand.