Wells opened 32 years ago as Wells, Rich, Greene and for years led a storied life as one of Madison Avenue's top creative agencies under its legendary chief, Mary Wells Lawrence. Ms. Lawrence eventually sold control of the agency and, in the last year, management turmoil and client defections crippled its business. Its last major clients defected during the week of March 9.
Hertz Corp., Toys "R" Us and Georgia-Pacific Corp. shifted their business: Hertz's $50 million account landed at Omnicom Group's DDB Needham Worldwide, New York; Georgia-Pacific's $30 million account moved to Omnicom's BBDO South, Atlanta; and Toys "R" Us shifted its $26 million account to Kaplan Thaler Group, New York, a new agency led by former Wells Executive Creative Director Linda Kaplan Thaler.
Omnicom had previously agreed to acquire Wells and the rest of GGT Group, which controls other agencies in the U.S. and around the world, for $235 million.
Copyright March 1998, Crain Communications Inc.