Heater Tightens Belt, Cuts Staff

Creative Shop Cites Decrease in Reebok Work
BOSTON–The same week Heater Advertising said it had won a children’s assignment from Reebok International, the shop was passing out pink slips, citing an overall decline in work from the athletic footwear maker.
At least eight staffers have been let go in the past two weeks, leaving the creative boutique with 21 employees. “Reebok has cut back its business with us, and it required us to do some belt-tightening and look at next year,” said Steve Giuggio, Heater’s executive vice president.
Agency sources have suggested that the client’s recent appointments of Carl Yankowski, president of the Reebok brand, and marketing director Angel Martinez would spell trouble for the Boston shop.
“It is certainly conceivable that the nature of our relationship with Heater is going to change,” said Reebok representative Dave Fogelson, who was noncommittal about the Stoughton, Mass.-based company’s agency relationships. “Without commenting on where we’re going with any of our agencies, we have reorganized our branding and strategic units and are in the process of aligning our resources, both internal and external. [Heater has] produced work for us, and they continue to do so. Beyond that, I can’t offer anything.”
Giuggio, however, said Heater is prepared for whatever changes may come. The agency recently wooed Jeff Lawson, former senior vice president of strategic planning at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, and picked up an assignment from the brewer.
What the layoffs mean for the agency, according to Giuggio, is that “Reebok is less of an emphasis and Anheuser-Busch is more.”