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(June 28, 2001) -- Dweck, a New York creative agency that CNN once called a "creative prodigy," will be closing its doors next week.

Michael Dweck, founder, chairman and creative director of the 9-year-old award-winning shop, said that the agency was closing so that he could pursue other career options. He denied that the closing was related to a loss in business and the general downturn in the advertising industry.

"I'm not a manager," Mr. Dweck said, "I'm a creative and I want to get back to working just on creative."

The agency was most recently in talks with Omnicom Group's DDB Ventures, which was negotiating to acquire 20% of the shop. The negotiations collapsed, and Mr. Dweck decided to dissolve his company instead.

The shop handled approximately $15 million in billings. Over the years the agency's client list included UPN, Fresh Samantha, Site 59, Swatch, Seagrams, Goldman Sachs, MTV, the Onion and Comedy Central. That list had been whittled down to UPN and Site 59 and project work for a variety of smaller clients.

Two years ago, Mr. Dweck's agency was called Dweck & Campbell, and Mr. Dweck's partner was Lori Campbell, with whom he formed the agency in 1992. The team produced some award-winning advertising, including a spot for Dial-A-Mattress that featured a surly man in an Arctic Ground Squirrel costume who ordered a bed to hibernate for the winter in his basement, far from his nagging wife. The spot won a Gold Lion at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes.

When Mr. Dweck and Ms. Campbell parted ways two years ago, Mr. Dweck decided to go it alone. Last year, Mr. Dweck hired a new partner, Wayne Best, a senior art director at Cliff Freeman & Partners. Mr. Best left the agency several months ago to work at Wieden & Kennedy, New York.

Mr. Dweck gathered his 14-person staff to announce the closure and told them that he will provide support in their finding new positions. The agency had recently moved to new offices in midtown Manhattan. Mr. Dweck did not disclose if had been offered any other positions and indicated that he might be doing work in the entertainment field as well as in advertising.

"I'm leaving my options open," Mr. Dweck said. In the meantime, he plans on taking a vacation with his family. -- Richard Linnett

Copyright June 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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