Wolf Group Closes Toronto Shop, Sells 2 Other Offices

NEW YORK Wolf Group Integrated Communications, which on Friday closed its 50-person office here, on Monday said it will also shutter its principal ad agency in Canada.

Flavor Advertising, Toronto, is closing today, a company representative said. That office handles Bacardi’s Canadian advertising. The client did not return calls.

In addition, Wolf Group offices in Atlanta and Rochester, N.Y., are in the process of being bought out by local mangers led by Sharon Napier, who serves as chief executive in Rochester. About 70 employees work at the two offices, which handle accounts including Bausch & Lomb, Candiglia Wines and Kodak Digital Imaging.

Wolf’s Cleveland outpost, which handles GE Lighting and several local pieces of business, as well as it corporate headquarters in Toronto, will remain open for the present, a company representative said, though he provided no information about long-term plans. (Cleveland will be the only noteworthy Wolf agency left standing once the Atlanta and Rochester buyouts are complete.)

In addition, Paul Kelly, president and CEO of the holding company, said he resigned on Sunday, though he declined further comment.

“We were told Friday they were closing [in New York],” said Felischa Marye, a representative for Equal Sweetner, a Merisant brand based in Chicago that had been handled by Wolf in New York. “That’s about all we were told.”

“We are in the process of executing an orderly wind down of our New York office,” said Larry Wolf, chairman of the Toronto-based holding company, a statement issued on Monday. “This past year was extremely difficult financially, which unfortunately led us to this decision.”

Equal, which spends about $10 million annually on ads, is “reviewing all its options,” Marye said, though she stopped short of saying that an agency search had begun. Wolf, which handled both creative and media portions of the account, broke new TV ads for the client in January.

It is unclear what will become of the New York office’s other accounts, which include AAMCO, Arbor Mist, Mott’s and Scotts Co.

Creative department employees out on shoots for the office’s biggest client, Scotts, were directed to return home immediately. Scotts representatives did not immediately return calls. The agency handled creative on Scotts’ estimated $50 million ad account.

This story updates an item posted on Jan. 30 with information about Wolf’s other offices and Kelly’s resignation.