62-YEAR RUN FOR WARWICK BAKER O'NEILL COMES TO END

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(July 25, 2001) -- Warwick Baker O'Neill, New York, is closing its doors Aug. 3 after 62 years.

The agency best known for its Timex ads featuring John Cameron Swazye blamed client bankruptcies and consolidations for its losses.

"WBO has a long history of successful advertising campaigns going back to the firm's founder, H.P. Warwick. Our tradition has been to bring our clients the customer's view, recognizing that every person is really two people -- the person who is and the person that he or she wants to be," Chairman-CEO Wilder Baker said in a statement.

Founded in 1939 as Warwick and Legler, the agency grew to become a shop with $180 million in billings. It added Kevin O'Neill as president and chief creative officer five years ago.

However, the agency lost several clients in recent months, including Matsushita Electric Industrial's Panasonic, East Coast Energy Council and MFS Investment Management. The agency also resigned Fruit of the Loom last year after the undergarment maker filed for Chapter 11 protection.

Panoramic Communication's EBP Communications had agreed to acquire the agency, but the deal fell through late last year. In May, speculation swirled that the agency was in talks with the Wolf Group. -- Kate MacArthur

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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