Lowe closes agency; Chairman blames loss of Xolair
The Fort Lee, N.J.-based agency had handled brands in Wyeth's consumer nutritional and respiratory franchises. That work has shifted to fellow Lowe Healthcare agency Pace.
Professional work for Abbott's Ultane and Hospira may go to Pace, as well. "We're still in discussions with Abbott with trying to get those over to Pace," said Sal Perreca, network chairman.
As for other consumer accounts, Lowe Bozell lost Gillette last year, and project work on Rita Medical Systems ended in 2004.
But the agency's modest client base took the biggest hit after Novartis put its accounts into review last year. Lowe Bozell was not included in the agency selections.
"When an office loses that much business, it really didn't make a whole lot of sense from an economic and an operational standpoint to keep them open," Perreca commented.
No more closures are scheduled, he said, but the network plans to open a new Strategic Resource Group for Web conferencing and other programs. The network will formally announce the group, charged with designing and outsourcing Web-based programming, such as online conferencing, plus speaker training, meetings management and teleconferences.
Among other economic reasons for the closure, the chairman added that Lowe Bozell's lease was coming to an end shortly.
Perreca said about half of Lowe Bozell's 25 employees were retained by other Lowe agencies; the rest were not.
With the closure, and the recent opening of Integrated Communications Corp. (ICC) offshoot Trio Communications, Lowe Healthcare maintains four U.S.-based agencies. Interlink Healthcare Communications is the fourth. In addition, Perreca said the network is moving to "strengthen our global capabilities" through overseas acquisitions. Lowe Healthcare maintains two agencies in England.
Lowe Healthcare, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, reorganized in 2002, following Perreca's appointment as CEO the previous year.