- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 17, 2002

Arnold Worldwide/Washington has bought the major clients of Earle Palmer Brown, prompting the demise of the 50-year-old Bethesda office.
The McLean advertising agency, part of the global network of agencies owned by Havas, has added about 30 EPB employees, including principals Charlie Jones and Woody Kay, and an estimated $40 million to $50 million in billings. The remaining positions in Bethesda many administrative and duplicate jobs are being eliminated.
"The attraction was the quality of players there and the quality accounts," said Kenneth C. Umansky, president of Arnold Worldwide/Washington, which had $190 million in billings prior to the new EPB clients. "They have a government practice we haven't been able to crack."
EPB's key client list includes the Treasury Department, the Department of Transportation, Blue Cross-Blue Shield Federal Program and the American Bankers Association.
EPB was founded in 1952 in Bethesda and was considered one of the top agencies in the area.
"In many respects, it was the gold standard of Washington agencies," said Doug Laughlin, president of Laughlin, Marinaccio & Owens, an ad agency in Arlington. "It was an institution. It'll be sad to see it go."
EPB's New York headquarters, which has about 50 employees, also is looking for a buyer. The firm closed its Philadelphia office about a year ago.
About two-thirds of EPB's Bethesda employees will move to Arnold's McLean office, which already has more than 90 employees. Arnold will integrate some of its employees into the EPB accounts, as well as introduce some of the new employees into Arnold accounts.
Arnold's clients include Silver Spring-based Choice Hotels International, McDonald's, Citizens Bank, BBC America and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
EPB's New York and Bethesda offices have been looking for a buyer for the past four to six months after the majority owner of its parent company, Panaromic Communications, decided to cut financial ties with its North American operations, said Mr. Jones, who is now an executive vice president at Arnold. Swiss ad company PubliGroupe is pulling the funding on those operations.
"We knew we were a strong-performing office," Mr. Jones said. "We didn't want to mess up our clients and we wanted to find a good fit for [the employees]."


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