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Miami-based McFarland & Drier is giving new owner Hameroff/Milenthal/Spence a foot in the door to Florida and Latin America.

The combined operation will have an estimated $110 million in capitalized billings, with Columbus, Ohio-based Hameroff's offices in Cincinnati; Memphis, Tenn.; and Orange County, Calif., and McFarland's in Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The deal, to be finalized Dec. 1, also will give McFarland access to HMS Direct, the agency's direct marketing division, as well as Hameroff's integrated marketing, sales promotion, research and media buying services.

The McFarland acquisition builds on Hameroff's philosophy of integrated marketing, said Chairman David Milenthal. "What we're trying to do out of Ohio is develop a more regional and national advertising agency based on good solid creative, coupled with integrated marketing capacity."

Proximity to Latin America was essential to the acquisition, he said. Hameroff's experience in utility and healthcare ads for clients like Ohio Edison Co., Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co. and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio could prove beneficial as the agency explores opportunities throughout the region.

Within the next year, the agency will bolster its Hispanic position and staffing to pitch domestic Hispanic and Latin American account work, said CEO Rick Milenthal.

Hameroff's clients include Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., Columbus; Perkins Family Restaurants, Memphis; and Kroger Co.'s Columbus region marketing area.

Executives of both agencies met recently with McFarland's clients, which include Carnival Cruise Lines, Miami; American Automobile Association, Heathrow, Fla.; and Ryder System, Miami.

McFarland will keep its name and top management will not change, executives said. A creative director likely will be added to assume that job from current Creative Director Bill Drier, who will remain as president.

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