Berlin forms new agency; FMB's Coke brands follow

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Former Fallon McElligott Berlin Chairman Andy Berlin is launching a new agency with the support of some FMB staffers and clients, among them Coca-Cola Co.

Ian Rowden, Coca-Cola's VP-director of advertising, confirmed that the accounts formerly at FMB are switching to Mr. Berlin's newly formed Berlin, Cameron & Partners, New York. These include Diet Sprite, Fresca, Georgia coffee and the recently gained Mello Yello--previously handled by the Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., where it billed just $1.4 million in 1996, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

CAMERON ON BOARD

Mr. Berlin's new agency begins life with estimated billings of $50 million to $60 million. Planner Ewen Cameron, a longtime associate of Mr. Berlin, will assist in the agency's leadership.

Coca-Cola Senior VP-Chief Marketing Officer Sergio Zyman said: "Andy is a great contributor to our business and we'll continue to work with him."

Also following Mr. Berlin is more than $40 million worth of billings from former FMB clients Conde Nast Publications, the National Basketball Association, NBC's Olympic Games and The Washington Post.

"This wasn't what I expected or the plan that I had," said Mr. Berlin, who resigned from FMB last week. He was negotiating with Fallon McElligott Chairman-CEO Pat Fallon to buy FMB, but those talks fell through after disagreements over issues including price.

Mr. Berlin said the creation of Berlin Cameron and its client list was "self-evident" since his contract with FMB expired on Sept. 30 without a no-compete agreement.

"The business that [Mr. Berlin] was close to, or had a previous relationship with, he is keeping," said Bill Westbrook, president-creative director of Fallon McElligott.

FMB TO LOSE ITS `B'

Mr. Westbrook said FMB will be transformed into a "a full-service New York office called Fallon McElligott," with staff from both FMB and Fallon's already formed New York creative office.

Mr. Westbrook expects the agency to have a staff of 35 by the beginning of 1998. It will be led by Creative Directors Joe Lovering and Bill Schwab, who will work in conjunction with Neil Powell, creative director at Fallon unit Duffy Design, New York.

Berlin Cameron has snatched a core group of FMB staffers: Mr. Cameron; creatives Izzy DeBellis and Jason Peterson; plus Deborah Sullivan, Simon Little and Kerry Ernst.

The new agency is the fifth Mr. Berlin has headed since leaving Goodby, Berlin & Silverstein, San Francisco, in 1992, with stops along the way at DDB Needham Worldwide, Berlin Wright Cameron and Berlin Cameron Doyle.

Copyright November 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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