IPG Consolidating West Coast Ad Agencies

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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- Under pressure to cut costs and consolidate, Interpublic Group of Cos. today announced the merger of two of its Los Angeles advertising agencies.

Suissa Miller will be folded into Dailey & Associates, with principals Bruce Miller and David Suissa joining Dailey as vice chairmen. Three key Dailey executives will continue in their positions: Cliff Einstein, chairman-CEO; Brian Morris, president and chief operating officer; and Mike Folino, chief creative officer, according to the company.

'Bigger playground'
Executives at the agencies involved did not return calls for comment this evening. In a prepared statement issued to the press, Mr. Suissa said, "I look forward to having a lot of fun on a bigger playground."

A merger between the two agencies had been discussed over a period of years. News of the decision was announced to employees late this afternoon.

The combined agency will handle Dailey clients Nestle, Safeway supermarkets, Honda Motorcycles, Dole Foods, Callaway Golf, Countrywide Financial, Public Storage, Weyerhaeuser, Lawry’s Foods, Ford, and ConocoPhillips. Suissa brings clients Princess Cruises, California State Automobile Association, Iomega, Farmer John, The Cereal Task Force, Intuit and Strong Financial.

Scrappy Suissa
Opened adjacent to the beach in 1985 by Mr. Suissa, Suissa Miller had the reputation for being a scrappy shop whose clients then included Surf Fetish, a clothing manufacturer. Over the years, the agency cycled through Jenny Craig International weight loss centers, Boston Market, Hunt-Wesson, Dole Food Co.'s fresh vegetables as well as dot-com and tech companies.

Its Cinderella moment, however, came in October 1996, when the agency won the $100 million American Honda Motors Acura account. Agency lore has it that while competitors for the review spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their pitch, Suissa Miller used $25,000 and a new set of marker pens to ultimately win. The $25,000 was what the shop received from Honda to do research for the review.

The agency lost the account in July 1999 when Acura was combined with the Honda account at independent shop Rubin Postaer & Associates of Santa Monica.

'Special projects'
In April, Suissa Miller announced that Mr. Miller would be handling "special projects" for Interpublic Group of Cos.' chairman-CEO, David Bell. Others in the agency said he would be taking a lesser role in the shop's day-to-day operations.

Mr. Bell this summer said a restructuring plan was in development for Interpublic's network of agencies and marketing service businesses. The holding company has about a dozen entities on the West Coast, including three offices of Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide as well as outposts for agencies such as Campbell-Ewald.

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