The loss of the U.S. Air Force account has sounded a death knell for Bozell Kamstra and SixtyFootSpider, two True North agencies in the Dallas area.
Irving, Texas-based Bozell Kamstra lost its 14-year flagship account in November following a review. The $40 million business was awarded to GSD&M in Austin, Texas.
As late as February, agency officials held off on a decision to shutter the office while waiting to receive a request for proposal from the National Guard, now also in review.
When the proposal emerged, however, sources said the division of advertising duties into various segments was unfavorable to Bozell Kamstra, which already handles the National Guard's classified advertising as a subcontractor. Despite the agency's experience in military recruitment advertising, executives chose to close the shop rather than chase the account.
Spokesperson Kathleen Ruane at Bozell Group in New York confirmed the planned closing, adding that Bozell Kamstra plans to "concentrate on our office in Austin."
Thirty-seven people currently work at Bozell Kamstra in Irving. The operation will likely be reduced to a skeleton staff to fulfill government contract obligations through the end of the year.
In a related move, the 20-person SixtyFootSpider interactive agency that shares office space with Bozell Kamstra will also be closed "in the near future," said Ruane. "We will hope to consolidate those clients into the SixtyFootSpider office in Minneapolis."
SixtyFootSpider lost major client Air Force at the same time as Bozell Kamstra. It also suffered the additional loss of Subaru. The current weakness of the dot-com industry made it difficult to attract any new business, sources said.
Tom O'Connor, senior partner and former general manager of Bozell Kamstra in Irving, quietly stepped down last month. David Dasenbrock, managing partner, media in Minneapolis, has become acting general manager in his stead, said Ruane.
Ruane declined to comment on what provisions the company is making, if any, to place employees elsewhere in the agency network.
"Obviously, with the office open until December, there's some leeway there to place people," she said.
Bozell Kamstra's clients include Fujitsu (now handled out of the Minneapolis office), Canon, EDS, Hire.com, ibooks.com, St. Louis Bread Co., 3M and Tivoli.