Fogarty, Lois Eye Split

Staff, Accounts Are Abandoning Chicago
CHICAGO–Fogarty Klein & Partners is looking to split from financially troubled Lois USA amid speculation the shop’s Chicago office will be closed and that Corona beer is in play.
“Basically, it’s one of those situations that’s kind of evolving every day,” said Bill Fogarty, a principal at the Houston agency. “We’re considering several alternatives having to do with a separation.” Lois officials, including Lois USA president Ted Veru, could not be reached.
Sources said Lois was, in some cases, months behind on media payments and that Chicago executives were shopping their services and some key clients.
The agency’s plum account, formerly at the short-lived Fogarty Klein & Partners 312 in Chicago, is Barton Beer, distributor of Corona beer in 25 Western states. “Barton brands is gone,” one source declared. An official at Barton, headquartered in Chicago, said the company expected to make a statement this week.
Corona spends about $20 million a year. The Richards Group in Dallas handles Eastern states through Gambrinus. Media is also split, although Lois has handled the most.
Lois was hard hit by General Motors’ consolidation of its regional dealership advertising, which is one of its cornerstone accounts, and the subsequent losses of Sav-on and Osco drugstores.
Fogarty was acquired by Lois in January 1997. Lois’ troubles have not affected the Houston agency, Fogarty said. “We basically are a separate corporation from Lois, which is positive for us,” Fogarty explained.