Ten employees were laid off, according to a spokeswoman, including President Peter Drakoulias who left the shop last week. Scott Carlson, exec VP-executive creative director and Gill Linton, director-account planning, will stay with the shop for 90 days to continue servicing its one client, Allied Domecq.
DRush, launched in November 1999, was regarded as a promising partnership between Madison Ave. and the entertainment industry as well as two colorful business leaders, Donny Deutsch and Russell Simmons. Under Mr. Drakoulias, named president in 2000, the shop picked up work for Allied Domecq. But it was unable to enter some multicultural reviews-such as DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group's-because of conflicts with Deutsch clients, notably Mitsubishi.
"It was agreed that resources would be better used to support initiatives that represent higher growth potential," said the agency's statement. An executive close to the agency said Deutsch is interested in winning general-advertising accounts rather than pursuing niche assignments such as youth and urban-marketing brands. And Mr. Simmons wants to focus on his many other properties, including Phat Farm clothing, Def Jam records and magazine One World.