Y&R closes Cape Town office

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CAPE TOWN -- Young & Rubicam has closed its Cape Town office, one of the oldest in the city, following the loss of the J&B whisky business as a result of an international realignment. Three months ago it also lost Smirnoff, another International Distillers & Vintners brand. Together, the two IDV brands comprised Y&R's biggest account in Cape Town.

J&B has gone to Addison Want Stroebel Gorin/J. Walter Thompson, and Smirnoff to Bull Calvert Pace, a Lowe Group agency. Y&R bought a Cape Town agency in the early 1980s when a major client, Colgate-Palmolive, overrode its political objections to doing business in the apartheid state and insisted on its being represented in South Africa. Gradually, however, its Johannesburg office has outstripped the Cape Town office in size. Managing Director Lucas Ferreira says he was forced to close Cape Town, which employed 37 people, because it had become a drain on the healthier Johannesburg operation.

Other agencies are now scrambling for about $3.5 million in business left by the agency in Cape Town, including Goodyear Tires and the recently acquired Hertz rental car business.

Copyright November 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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