NEW YORK-D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles is shutting down its local media buying operation in St. Louis and consolidating the business at its headquarters here.
With the move, DMB&B intends to consolidate all local spot TV and radio buying at its New York and Los Angeles offices. Previously, the agency split up local buying among separate corporate units housed within its New York, Los Angeles and St. Louis offices.
A DMB&B representative confirmed the move last week. "We are reconfiguring to service our clients better," said the representative.
The shutdown does not affect the rest of DMB&B's St. Louis operation, she added. The agency will continue to maintain a separate unit dedicated to Southwestern Bell in the St. Louis office.
About 16 staffers will be affected, with layoffs likely, said sources. Some employees will be reassigned to other duties at the St. Louis office. The unit handled local media buying in Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas for clients such as Burger King, said sources.
"It was easier [for DMB&B] to handle everything out of New York and L.A," said one source.
The viability of DMB&B's St. Louis office has been questioned since the loss of the Anheuser-Busch account in 1994. The shop, however, is believed to be poised to increase its $90 million share of business from Southwestern Bell parent SBC Communications, which has merged with Pacific Telesis. -with Trevor Jensen and Scott Hume