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MERGED AGENCY WESTWAYNE HAS NAT'L AMBITIONS;OUTCOME OF $30 MIL SALEM REVIEW MAY BE BIG STEP IN THAT DIRECTION

By Published on .

Two Southeast agencies with distinct cultures hope to come out from their merger with a shop boasting its own identity and a national reputation.

Completed at the end of September, the union of WestGroup, Tampa, Fla., and Tucker Wayne & Co., Atlanta, has spawned WestWayne, the region's largest independent agency with $240 million in billings.

Hip, 11-year-old WestGroup had billings of $80 million in 1995, while ultraconservative, 74-year-old Tucker Wayne reported billings of $160 million last year.

Tucker Wayne's senior principals, Knox Massey Jr. and Sidney Smith, were nearing retirement age and needed a succession plan. WestGroup, known for humorous, edgy creative, had young management led by Ben West.

Mr. West, 44, is now president of WestWayne. His top lieutenants, Michael Edmeades, 42, and Martin Macdonald, 37, are chief operating officer and executive creative director, respectively.

`WONDERFUL CORE GROUP'

"We've got a wonderful core group of people in their 30s and 40s," said Mr. Massey, now chairman-CEO of WestWayne. "We've agreed to form a new culture together, instead of one person or another having a dominant culture."

Mr. West said the tone of the new agency is "corporate chic."

"The vast majority of the population, even in Atlanta, wanted a more progressive, hip, great-work-is-king attitude," he said.

WestWayne is using its bigger size and added resources to set its sights on being a national player.

"I think that we are now in a position to go after more national accounts," Mr. Macdonald said. "We want to be one of the new nationals in this region. We want to be in the same arena as Fallon, Wieden and Goodby."

DESIRE TO BE `NOTABLE'

Mr. Massey added: "We don't aspire to be an Omnicom or Interpublic .*.*. but what we really want going forward is to be a more notable player on the national stage."

WestWayne reportedly is doing project work to reposition R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s Salem cigarettes. The agency is in the running to win the entire $20 million to $30 million Salem account, previously at Trone Advertising, Greensboro, N.C. A decision will most likely come next month.

Breaking today is a $15 million-plus BellSouth campaign from the agency. The effort includes print, outdoor, Internet and regional TV ads.

The first of three TV spots in a corporate branding campaign running in the fourth quarter features animation and a voice-over touting BellSouth as the single source for all telecommunications needs.

"We're communicating that BellSouth is a carrier that already has everything you need," said William Pate, VP-advertising for BellSouth. "The campaign was designed to build equity on each piece. It all fits together."

Tucker Wayne had been doing BellSouth work for 50 years. In August 1995, the agency lost the BellSouth Telecommunications unit's portion of the account to Merkley Newman Harty, New York. WestWayne continues to handle the corporate, wireless and Yellow Pages business.

AGENCIES ENERGIZED

"The merger has really energized both agencies," Mr. Pate said. "We now have a nice blend of telecom knowledge combined with new blood that has new ideas on marketing."

Before its nuptials with WestGroup, Tucker Wayne reversed a 1988 merger that created Tucker Wayne/Luckie & Co, Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala. The two agencies divorced in January, the main reason being the loss of the BellSouth telecom business.

WestGroup clients joining WestWayne include Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's international division and London International U.S. Holdings' Durex Shiek and Ramses condoms. Tucker Wayne brings in clients including American Cyanamid Co. and Reynolds Metals Co.

WestWayne also has a plan to woo consultants to gain new clients.

"The world's changed. Consultants are driving many of the reviews, so what we're doing is presenting ourselves to consultants," Mr. Massey said. "That will be a major thrust for us."M

Two Southeast agencies with distinct cultures hope to come out of from their merger with a shop boasting its own identity and a national reputation.

Completed at the end of September, the union of WestGroup, Tampa, Fla., and Tucker Wayne & Co., Atlanta, led to the formation of WestWayne, Tampa, the region's largest independent agency with $240 million in billings.

Hip, 11-year-old WestGroup had billings of $85 million in 1995, while ultra-conservative, 74-year-old Tucker Wayne reported billings of $155 million last year.

Tucker Wayne's senior principals, Knox Massey Jr. and Sidney Smith, were nearing retirement age and needed a succession plan. WestGroup, known for humorous, edgy creative, had a young management team led by Ben West.

Mr. West, 44, is now president of WestWayne. His top lieutenants, Michael Edmeades, 42, and Martin Macdonald, 37, are chief operating officer and executive creative director, respectively, of the merged shop.

"We've got a wonderful core group of people in their thirties and forties," said Mr. Massey, now chairman-CEO of WestWayne. "We've agreed to form a new culture together, instead of one person or another having a dominant culture."

Mr. West said the tone of the new agency is "corporate chic."

"The vast majority of the population, even in Atlanta, wanted a more progressive, hip, great-work-is-king, attitude," he said.

WestWayne is using its bigger size and added resources to set its sights on becoming a national player.

"I think that we are now in a position to go after more national accounts," Mr. Macdonald said. "We want to be one of the new nationals in this region. We want to be in the same arena as Fallon, Wieden and Goodby."

Mr. Massey added, "We don't aspire to be an Omnicom or Interpublic .*.*. but what we really want going forward is to be a more notable player on the national stage."

WestWayne is already doing project work to reposition R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s Salem cigarettes. The agency is in the running to win the entire $20 million to $30 million Salem account, previously handled by Trone Advertising, Greensboro, N.C. A decision will most likely come in mid-November.

Breaking today is a $15 million-plus BellSouth campaign from the agency. The effort includes print, outdoor, Internet and regional TV ads.

The first of three TV spots in a corporate branding campaign running in the fourth quarter features animation and a voice-over touting BellSouth as the single source for all telecommunications needs.

"We're communicating that BellSouth is a carrier that already has everything you need," said William Pate, VP-advertising for BellSouth. "The campaign was designed to build equity on each piece. It all fits together."

Tucker Wayne had been doing BellSouth work for 50 years. In August 1995, the agency lost the BellSouth Telecommunications unit's portion of the account to Merkley Newman Harty, New York. WestWayne continues to handle the corporate, wireless and Yellow Pages business.

"The merger has really energized both agencies," Mr. Pate said. "We now have a nice blend of telecom knowledge combined with new blood that has new ideas on marketing."

Before its nuptials with WestGroup, Tucker Wayne reversed a 1988 merger that created Tucker Wayne/Luckie & Co, Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala. The two agencies divorced in January, the main reason being the loss of the BellSouth telecom business.

WestGroup clients joining WestWayne include Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's international division and London International U.S. Holdings' Durex Shiek and Ramses condoms. Tucker Wayne brings in clients including American Cyanamid Co. and Reynolds Metals Co.

WestWayne also has a plan to woo consultants to gain new clients.

"The world's changed. Consultants are driving many of the reviews, so what we're doing is presenting ourselves to consultants," Mr. Massey said. "That will be a major thrust for us."

Added Director of Business Development Don Morgan, "We held back until we were officially WestWayne, so now we're cranking it up."

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