Brown, Ross Llewellyn Merge, Seek to Cross-Sell Services

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Chicago's oldest advertising agency Ross Llewellyn has merged with Brown Integrated Communications to form Ross/Brown Integrated Marketing Communications, Naperville, IL. The merger combines a larger advertising agency with a rapidly growing integrated marketing agency.

"Ross focused on business-to-business and healthcare. It was primarily a pure advertising agency, where Brown was more of an integrated marketing agency so we do a lot of Internet promotions, direct marketing, database work and marketing consulting," said Neil Brown, managing partner of the new agency, who also held that title at Brown Integrated Communications. "Ross was also a larger agency. It has more clients and will give us more leverage with media and with publishing companies."

The merged company hopes to cross-sell Brown Integrated Communications' and Ross Llewellyn's services to each other's clients and bill itself as a full-service integrated marketing company.

"We are trying not to pigeon-hole ourselves into a specific industry or market. We want to go forward as a group that offers comprehensive integrated marketing for business people as well as for consumers and some retail," Brown said.

In addition, the merged agency is stepping up its Internet capabilities by partnering with Launch2, an Internet advertising agency founded by Bob Ahrens, who had previously headed Ahrens Interactive before selling it to Black Dot.

Under the partnership, Ross/Brown is investing in Launch2, which will be based out of Ross/Brown's Chicago offices. Launch2's staff is expected to grow and the Internet agency will offer its specialized Web services to Ross/Brown clients.

While it is being treated as a merger, the agreement between the two agencies involved the acquisition of Ross Llewellyn's assets by Brown, who is now the sole owner. Three of the four partners of Ross Llewellyn will retire, and the fourth will stay with the agency as an account supervisor. Ross/Brown will have billings in excess of $17 million and gross income of $2.56 million. Its major clients will include Ameritech, Panasonic, and Brasseler USA. The agency will be based in Chicago.

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