Blue Horse Rides Free

Lewis Lazare: There’s been an amicable divorce at Ebel Signorelli Welke/Chicago. The three partners who formed the agency in 2002 have split up. Bob Ebel has left the advertising business altogether to become president of Elmhurst-based MyLife Home Health Services, an organization providing in-home health care to the elderly.
Creative leader Bob Welke also has left ESW to become CEO of Blue Horse/Milwaukee, an ad agency that had until recently been owned by ESW. But ESW has sold Blue Horse to Welke and the 30-person agency’s executive committee. Welke has relocated to Milwaukee.
Jim Signorelli now is chairman and CEO of ESW in Chicago, where he intends to focus on building the shop into an agency specializing in “transaction-driven marketing.” The agency’s current client roster includes KFC, Taco Bell, PLS Financial Services and its newest account, Oberweis Ice Cream and Dairy stores. “We have a great deal of expertise getting people in stores,” Signorelli said. “We are all about ROI and cost per leads, while Blue Horse has more of a brand orientation.”
With Welke’s move to Milwaukee, Signorelli is bringing on board Phillip Lanier as ESW/Chicago’s new chief creative officer. Lanier started his career at Chiat-Day in Los Angeles, and later met up with Signorelli when they both oversaw the Arby’s account at W.B. Doner.
Blue Horse dates back to the mid-1960s. Its flagship client is American Family Insurance. The agency also does public relations work for Wal-Mart and U.S. Cellular and work for several B-to-B accounts. Blue Horse has about $30 million in billings, but Welke hopes to begin to add new business.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.