Michael Mark Launches New Agency

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Michael Mark, who left his post as creative director and president of San Diego agency Matthews/Mark (now Matthews/Evans/Albertazzi) in January to pursue the proverbial "other opportunities," has finally unveiled his new venture: a San Diego ad boutique that's out of the gate with an impressive client list and $16 million in billings.

Mark's new shop, which he's named NYCA for New York and California -- his birthplace and adopted home, respectively -- recently acquired duties for Taylormade Golf from FCB/Los Angeles and has also picked up The San Diego Union-Tribune, a former Matthews/Mark client. Other clients include HCN Software and Rossa Putters, a second golf brand attracted to Mark by his work for Callaway Golf Balls, which included a memorable campaign in which addled golfers proposed conspiracy theories to explain the performance of Callaway's balls.

"I just wanted to work with some great clients, and I wanted to do something the way I wanted to do it," Mark says of the decision to forge out on his own. "I had a great time at Matthews/Mark. I loved the clients. I loved the people. But I'm reaching a certain age. I'm 45 and before I die, once I want to do it my way."

As for forging out now, in a plunging economy with confidence in corporations hitting new lows, Mark says he's simply following his own advice. "I never really put myself at risk the way I told my clients to," he says. "There are 20,000 of my peers out of work right now and I was president of an agency that was doing fairly well, and I wanted to see if we could do even better. Right now it's a difficult time. The economy sucks. The leading corporations in America are lying to us. It's easy to retreat into a shell of cynicism, but we're going to take a step forward."

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