Adworks May Not Defend Retailer

By Nora FitzGerald and Steve Krajewski
WASHINGTON, D.C.–Officials at Adworks here last week said they had laid off eight employees after being told the agency would have to re-pitch the $30 million advertising account of Hech-inger Co., which also operates stores under the Home Quarters Warehouse banner.
The personnel layoffs include four staffers from the creative department, two from media services and two from the management information group.
Agency officials declined to identify the employees, but acknowledged that the staff cuts are due to a general reduced workload at the shop.
Adworks has said it not sure whether it will defend its Hechinger advertising account, which sources indicated had already dwindled in billings.
Separately, officials with Fogarty Klein & Partners in Houston confirmed last week they will have to defend their $30 million Builders Square account. That client’s merger with the Hechinger home improvement chain has new management evaluating advertising plans for both retailers. Top management for Builders Square has been relocated to the corporate headquarters of Hechinger in Largo, Md.
It was not clear last week whether the client will consolidate advertising responsibilities for both retail operations in order to streamline costs, though sources said such a move is possible.
Client officials declined to comment on the situation last week, but sources said they informed both agencies that all vendor relationships were being evaluated. It is not yet known if the retailer plans to contact outside agencies before giving its two roster shops a chance to defend their business.
Fogarty Klein & Partners principal Richard Klein said his shop will present to the new management group next month or early next year.
“We continue to do work for Builders Square on a day-to-day basis, and we’re hopeful that we can retain the business,” Klein said.