MERKLEY NEWMAN WINS CITIGROUP'S SMITH BARNEY ACCOUNT

Agency to Begin Branding Effort for Troubled Division

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Citigroup's Smith Barney unit hired Omnicom Group's Merkley Newman Harty, New York, as its new advertising agency, replacing Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide.

Merkley Newman was part of an in-house agency review that included Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide, New York, and New York-based independent agencies Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners and McGarry Bowen.

Billings not disclosed
Merkley will begin working shortly

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on a new branding effort for fall, said Bret Sanford-Chung, senior vice president and director of advertisign and marketing communications. She would not reveal billings for the account, but Salomon Smith Barney spent $3 million in measured media in 2002, after spending $27 million in 2001, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Citigroup is rebranding several businesses formerly under the Salomon Smith Barney umbrella as Smith Barney in the wake of federal and state investigations regarding allegations of impropriety by its analysts. Citigroup separated its equity research and private client brokerage operations last October as part of an effort to make them independent of corporate and investment banking.

Sallie L. Krawcheck, former chairman-CEO of Sanford Bernstein, was named CEO of the new unit, which operates under the Smith Barney name. In December, the company reached an agreement with regulators to end federal and state probes.