Ogilvy buys
isle ad firm

Myers Advertising joins
the international company
after 4 independent decades

By Erika Engle

Myers Advertising Inc. is being acquired by Ogilvy & Mather Hawaii for an undisclosed price after nearly 40 years of independence. The deal takes effect April 1.

In the four decades she's been with the firm established by her late husband, Bill, President Jean Myers has been approached with buyout offers numerous times.

"When my husband died 26 years ago a large agency wanted to buy us out, but at age 37 you're young and sassy -- I wasn't ready at that time,"Myers said.

Timing was the factor now, she said. "I think the people who've approached me over the years will be shocked."

Ogilvy Chief Executive and Managing Director Emi Anamizu said "from our standpoint it's a way for us to plan and manage growth." The acquisition brings the company new clients and new talent to manage accounts including Victoria Ward Centers, Hawaii National Bank, Kuakini Health Systems, Haseko Homes and the Kahala Mandarin Oriental. The combined firm will have $23 million in annual billings.

However, Papa John's Hawaii won't be Myers' client any longer since Ogilvy represents rival Pizza Hut.

At seven figures, Papa John's is Hawaii's fourth-largest fast-food advertising client behind McDonald's, Pizza Hut and Jack in the Box, according to President Jeff Jervik.

In the past six days he's had six calls from six different agencies, he said.

He gave credit to Myers ad executive Patrick Bullard for executing the company's advertising strategy, indicating that Papa John's plans rest on "what Patrick is going to do." The agencies which have approached Jervik so far already have fast-food accounts, he said, which could lead to further account and personnel shake-ups for the agency that picks up the business.

Myers pledged to work "as long as it takes to find a good home for (Jervik's business)," calling the loss of the account her only regret.

"(Jean Myers) turned into as much of a friend as a business partner," Jervik said. "She knows my kids and my family and mother-in-law and father-in-law, she knows everybody and I'm going to miss her."

Other of Myers' clients have been with the company for decades, such as Panasonic, Star Markets Ltd. and the Hawaii State Farm Fair.

"For me, everything has to be win-win. My clients have all collectively said, 'yes, if this is comfortable for you, Jean, and your staff, we're behind you,'" Myers said.

Myers joins Ogilvy as a managing director and her nine employees have all been offered employment with Ogilvy, which would increase that company's size from 20 employees to 30. "I hope all of them will join us," Anamizu said.

It was a condition of the deal, Myers said. "I wanted to make sure that the Myers name, if it ever closed or something happened, that we would do it very well in memory of my late husband."

Employees who make the move can grow and transfer to New York if they've done well, Myers said, noting that Ogilvy is part of a company owned by England's WPP Group Plc.

Myers will move into Ogilvy offices at 700 Bishop St. in the complex formerly known as Amfac Center, recently renamed Topa Financial Center.

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