Merkley + Partners is a mid-size creative agency in New York, operating as a standalone unit within the portfolio of marketing giant Omnicom, although it is often linked to BBDO with whom it has worked for many years on the Mercedes-Benz account. Offically, that account departed in 2018 for Publicis, but Merkley has retained lead status for the US for vans and trucks, and was still producing passenger cars ads in 2020. The shop offers a range of services including media and digital as well as traditional advertising. AdAge estimated revenues of $78m in 2019. Merkley launched in 1993 as Merkley Newman Harty, a spin-off from existing Omnicom-owned agency Doremus. Before joining Doremus, creative director Parry Merkley had established a reputation at Ogilvy & Mather for the American Express "portraits" campaign. He and colleague Steve Harty brought with them six accounts from Doremus, and recruited British-born Jane Newman from Chiat/Day. She had made a name for herself as a pioneer in the US of the concept of strategic account planning, a methodology originally developed at London's BMP, where she worked during the 1970s. Only a few months after it launched, the fledgling agency scored a huge coup when it captured the account for IBM's PC advertising. Only a year later, however, that business was pulled when IBM consolidated its entire account into O&M. For the next five years, MNH remained a comparatively small agency. But in 1999 it scored another big win, taking the Mercedes account from rival Lowe/SMS. Several senior Lowe execs followed the account, including Alex Gellert, now Merkley CEO, and Andy Hirsch, Merkley's chief creative officer. Together the two have led Merkley & Partners ever since. MNH co-founders Newman and Harty departed in 1998 and 2001 respectively; Merkley in 2005.
Capsule checked 22nd February 2021
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Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Jun 2017: Mercedes-Benz is reviewing global creative adaptation, managed by BBDO. Campaigns will most likely still be conceived in one of three hubs: New York's Merkley & Partners, Germany's Antoni, and BBDO China. The question is who will then adapt those ads for local markets.
Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd Feb 2017: Ads of the Week: "Easy Driver". The Coen Brothers make an ad for Mercedes-Benz? You've got to be kidding! Well it is Super Bowl... The Big Game is already the ad industry's most prestigious testing ground, and this year it's looking like marketing budgets have notched up by another zero or two in its honour. The question is, has creativity risen to the challenge as well? Always keen to rummage through the cinematic archive, Joel and Ethan Coen have delivered this tribute to movie classic Easy Rider, for the supercharged Mercedes-AMG roadster, with assistance from Merkley & Partners and Germany's Antoni. And it just wouldn't be complete without an appearance from Peter Fonda.
Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Dec 2016: Ads of the Week: "Snow Date". Such a sweet holiday-themed spot for Mercedes-Benz from Omnicom's Merkley & Partners. Young love meets German precision engineering. Mercedes is currently riding high, on course to steal back the title of the world's top-selling luxury auto from BMW for the first time since 2005.
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