Mendelsohn Zien advertising, the agency best known for its risque Carl's Jr. commercials, has been purchased by Hakuhodo Inc., the eighth largest advertising agency network in the world.

Until now, the Westwood-based Mendelsohn Zien has focused mostly on two big clients, fast-food chain Carl's Jr. and Farmer John meats. But with the new ownership, it suddenly becomes the U.S. flagship agency for one of Japan's biggest marketing conglomerates, giving the local agency potential access to Hakuhodo clients such as Panasonic, Nissin Food and Matsushita Electric Industrial.

Chief Executive Richard Zien will continue to lead the agency. Founder and Executive Creative Director Jordin Mendelsohn will leave the shop.

Hakuhodo, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, bought a 49.9 percent share of Mendelsohn Zien in 2003. Since then, the companies have worked together on projects. Zien described the merger as "an excellent marriage" and expects that the new arrangement will give his agency access to Hakuhodo's big international customers.

"They have set aggressive growth plans for the agency," Zien said. "Now that my partner has left, it frees up the budget to hire more creative talent and we're looking to do it. That's probably the biggest change here."

Zien doesn't foresee any change in the agency's culture because Hakuhodo has a policy of putting local culture first. Hakuhodo has more than 60 offices in 19 countries.

"Hakuhodo's core principle of recognizing consumers as individuals with aspirations and dreams meshes perfectly with Mendelsohn Zien's philosophy of focusing on why a product is bought, not why it's sold," he said.

Loot the Vault

Roddan Paolucci Roddan, a Palos Verdes Estates agency that handles campaigns for real estate companies, followed the example of its clients and reassessed the value of its holdings.

And then decided that the best use of the archival material that wasn't used in previous campaigns would be to give it away.

Roddan has decided to donate what it calls its "creative assets" to any homebuilder who wants them.

Creative Director Christopher Salling explained that during the past 20 years, he and his ad staff have come up with plenty of ideas some bad, some better and some great. And lots of the great ideas never got executed. So he's putting all the unused stuff in an online "vault" and allowing marketing teams at homebuilders and developers to do with it what they will.

"All of the work the ideas and the collaborations that comes out of the vault is being donated to homebuilders," Salling said in a statement.

The vault contains ad concepts, Web sites, logo studies, PR programs and outdoor signage designs for real estate, whether multifamily, luxury, urban, suburban or coastal. The outtakes come from campaigns for RPR's large client base, which includes Irvine Co., John Laing Homes, Lowe Development and Centex Homes.

Real estate marketing professionals who want to review the vault can contact Roddan Paolucci Roddan.

'Nine' Glow

Baru Advertising found a bright new way to promote a science-fiction movie to Hispanic consumers with its recent campaign for "9," an animated film from Focus Features.

The L.A.-based agency put glow-in-the-dark rack cards on the 11,000 newsstands where La Opinion newspapers were sold. The cards had phosphorescent ink that absorbed sunlight and then glowed in the dark through the night. While rack card promotions are common, the glow technique was a first in the L.A. market.

"The title treatment and stylistic elements of the movie lent themselves perfectly for a glowing effect," Elizabeth Barrutia, president of Baru, said in a statement.

Agencies & Accounts

Robert Harwood-Matthews is the new executive vice president at PHD West, a design shop that belongs to Omnicom Media Group. Harwood-Matthews will manage PHD offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Event production house Starfish Creative in Marina del Rey has signed up to manage the exhibit halls at New York Comic Con and Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo starting in 2010. Both fan shows are owned by Reed Exhibitions. The Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association, headquartered in Oxnard, has hired Mustang Marketing in Thousand Oaks for a new marketing strategy. The trade group will focus its message on consumers, rather than member business owners. That's because new research shows consumers need help finding a transmission shop. Maverick will promote the association's Web site, which features a shop finder. Daniel Casey has rejoined WorldLink, an L.A.-based media buying agency, after three years away from the company. His new title is executive vice president of sales and general manager. In the three years he was gone, Casey worked at direct-marketing firm Revenue Frontier and as president of KDOC (Channel 56) in Irvine. Blaine Group in Beverly Hills has been retained by EcoBabyWorld, a new-parent Web site, to promote the EcoBabyWorld Green Awards, an online contest of natural and organic products for infants.

Staff reporter Joel Russell can be reached at jrussell@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 237.

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