HB&H Prepares To Shut Down

With two of its major clients set to drastically cut their ad spending in the next year, Hyett, Broadbent & Heimbrodt here has decided to close its doors sometime before April 1.
“We are greatly saddened, but we are facing a significant financial loss if we carry on,” said Andrew Hyett, HB&H managing partner. “We could do it and cut back on some things, but then we would not be the agency we want to be.”
Sports equipment manufacturer Mizuno USA plans to chop its advertising expenses in half, Hyett said. The company spent more than $3 million in early 1997 to launch its “Step up Mizuno” campaign, with TV and print work promoting its baseball gear and running shoes.
Another HB&H client, Specialty Brands, San Francisco, has told the agency it will not allot any money for advertising in 1998. HB&H recently created a national print campaign for the company’s Spice Islands seasonings brand, its first advertising in more than five years. Sources said an Australian firm is in talks with Specialty Brands about a possible acquisition.
HB&H cut its 18-person staff in half about two weeks ago. Hyett said the remaining employees are the “key people” needed to complete pending first-quarter assignments for several of the agency’s clients.
Hyett said he and the other agency partners, Anthony Broadbent and Scott Heimbrodt, are now weighing their options. “The sky is the limit,” Hyett said. “We are each talking with other agencies, and are also considering doing other things. The possibilities are endless.”
The three started HB&H five years ago after trying to buy DDB Needham’s previous San Francisco operation, where they had been employed. The two sides sued each other in 1993, but ultimately settled out of court. The terms were undisclosed.