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D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles' announcement of plans to close its Chicago shop at yearend as a full-service office came little more than two weeks after DMB&B's St. Louis staff was cut to slightly more than half its size of two years ago.

The 85 Chicago employees were told of the decision last week, with agency officials citing both last year's loss of the office's biggest client, Amoco Oil Co. and its $35 million account, and the subsequent failure to draw significant new business. About half the staff will stay on in a buying service office with some of the rest moving to other agencies picking up DMB&B accounts.

The shop opened in 1954 as D'Arcy Advertising. It currently had about $127 million in billings, mostly in media buying.

"Our fate depended on bringing in significant new business," said office Managing Director Hoy McConnell. "We simply didn't get any and that made looking forward a tough proposition."

In a statement, Richard V. Hopple, president of DMB&B North America, said he had "looked closely at the viability of remaining in the Chicago market....Strategically, this action makes sense, focusing our capabilities in our largest Midwest offices-St. Louis and Bloomfield Hills-and enhancing our ability to invest in the future growth of these full-service advertising operations."

The Chicago office's largest remaining client was the Dairy Management Association. The shop was agency of record on the $55 million account and, besides doing buying and planning, was doing local creative. That account will move to Leo Burnett USA along with Mr. McConnell and some of the agency's personnel.

LaSalle National Bank, a $7 million account, will move to Cramer-Krasselt along with other DMB&B staff. Northern Illinois Gas Co. has yet to assign its $3 million account.

DMB&B will keep open a Chicago service office for regional broadcast and spot buying and Burger King Corp. field marketing.

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