Posted by: audreybenenati | December 28, 2009

Ad agencies forced to shed jobs


By David Holthaus • December 27, 2009

Northlich advertising agency has lost about 50 employees. Powers Agency is down 15; Strata-G had to lay off 10.

Greater Cincinnati’s advertising sector, counted on to be an engine of job growth in coming years, suffered a setback in 2009 as the recession led to declines in ad spending and the downsizing of ad staffs.

Individually, the region’s relatively small, usually independent agencies don’t account for an overwhelming number of jobs. But collectively, they make up the kind of industry that economic development officials love – one that’s full of young, creative talent with the potential for high growth.

"Last year was challenging for everyone, and it was challenging for us," says Kathy Selker, CEO of Northlich, one of Cincinnati’s largest ad groups. Northlich has downsized from about 150 full-time employees in 2008 to about 100 now, Selker says. The firm lost a couple big clients – the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation, which was eliminated by the Ohio legislature, and the Kentucky Lottery. It also saw some accounts go "dormant."

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