Takes Over Shop of Sibling a.k.a. Euro RSCG

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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- Despite the exodus of clients, the layoffs and the failure of other national agency offices, Havas Advertising's Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, long rumored to be looking for a West Coast location, has opened a shop in San Francisco.

Messner will rebrand the offices of sister shop a.k.a. Euro RSCG, an office with 30 employees and accounts that include Hallmark Co.'s The Picture People and Juniper Networks.

Michael Kantrow, managing partner-CEO of a.k.a. Euro RSCG, takes the title of managing director at the San Francisco Messner shop. Mr. Kantrow, who said the office has $80 million to $100 million in billings, will report to Ron Berger, Messner's CEO.

Kevin McCarthy, partner-creative director of a.k.a. Euro RSCG, retains his title in the renamed shop.

Other Havas holdings in the Bay Area include Black Rocket Euro RSCG, the agency for Yahoo!, and Arnold Worldwide Partners' Arnold Ingalls Moranville.

Other shops closing
The move

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comes at a time when a number of holding companies have closed shops in Northern California, among them Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe and the Martin Agency.

In February 1999, Bob Schmetterer, chairman-CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide, looking for a San Francisco presence, tried to acquire a stake in then independent agency Citron Haligman Bedecarre, now A.K.Q.A. That deal, however, quickly dissolved.

Mr. Berger said the closures leave an opening for his agency that he believes will make it one of the few, if not the only, agency offering integrated communications.

'Boutique' shops
"San Francisco is, for the most part, a fairly traditional advertising market," he said, calling most of the agencies in the area "boutiques" that don't "have brand ideas across a variety of mediums."

"The advertising agencies that left created a bigger opportunity for an agency like ours," Mr. Berger said.

Besides, Mr. Berger added, Messner "has made it in New York, and as they say, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere."

Mr. Berger said he did not anticipate that the San Francisco shop would take over the agency's West Coast clients, which include Intel Corp., located in nearby Santa Clara. The account will not be serviced out of San Francisco, but would draw on that shop's resources as necessary, he said.

Similarly, Messner has been believed to be planning a Southern California office, to be near the new headquarters of Ford Motor Co.'s Volvo, in Orange County. Instead, Mr. Berger said the agency has installed a senior account director in an office at the Volvo headquarters, with the remaining team working out of New York and traveling frequently to the West Coast.

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