Fourteen former executives of Simon Marketing have launched a new venture, Premium Surge, under the aegis of DraftWorldwide, the below-the-line unit of Interpublic Group. All worked on the McDonald's business whilst with Simon.

Premium Surge will operate as a separate entity, reporting via Draft’s promotional agency Surge. The startup specializes in promotional premiums, a sector Chicago-based Draft has been seeking to enter for some time according to president/chief operating officer Jordan Rednor.

Draft, he revealed, had seized the opportunity to step-in after McDonald's sacked Simon in the wake of the alleged $20 million games and sweepstakes scandal [WAMN: 22-Aug-01]. However, Rednor denied the move had been at the behest of Draft client Burger King.

The fledgling’s immediate function is to offer its premiums capability to existing Draft clients including Burger King and Kellogg, although it eventually aims to seek new business.

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