As its largest client continues a restructuring that could endanger its 30-year ad relationship, Cook Marketing Communications has laid off 22 employees and formed two strategic partnerships.
Agency senior vice president and executive creative director Lare Arra said it was coincidental that the shop was downsizing at the same time Winn-Dixie grocery stores, its largest client, was doing the same.
Mickey Clerc, client director of public relations, said new chief executive officer Al Rowland will continue to streamline operations and "we will probably look at our advertising and public relations also."
Competitive Media Reporting cites Winn-Dixie 1999 spending at $43.4 million. The client and agency are both based in Jacksonville, Fla.
Arra pointed to Cook's recent alliances with direct marketing firm Direct Mail Ex-press and e-commerce specialists Image Team, both in Daytona Beach, Fla., as the reason for the layoffs.
"We have essentially eliminated our direct marketing team," Arra said, adding that both smaller agencies will handle database management and have teamed with Cook on projects for the Atlanta Falcons and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The two specialty shops will be included in new business pitches as well, he said.
Arra said Cook has added six employees in its creative and account service departments.