Roswell Park Cancer Institute has selected an advertising agency in New York City, ending a six-year relationship with a local firm.
Since 1999, Roswell had used the Schutte Group and continued using Schutte after the SKM Group acquired it in 2003. Roswell will now use Bandujo, Donker & Brothers Advertising, which competed with about two dozen agencies, said Laurel Di Brog, Roswell' vice president of marketing and public affairs.
"Sometimes it takes someone who doesn't know you to come in and say, 'This is what you're all about,' " Di Brog said. "Our image needs to reflect that we're more than a regional and local cancer center. We're competing for talent on a national level."
SKM, which was a finalist for the job, said it hopes to win Roswell's business in the future.
"We are obviously disappointed to have lost this account, especially to an out-of-town agency," said Susan Kerrigan-Meany, president and CEO of SKM. "The Roswell brand has grown tremendously during our relationship and we are proud to have been a part of it."
While the loss of Roswell hurts SKM, Meany said she is hiring three to four new people because of increased business from existing accounts and new accounts such as ESAB Welding and Cutting Products in Florence, S.C., Allstate Motor Club and local Serta dealer America's Mattress.
Other Buffalo advertising agencies that lost business to out-of-town firms have not been as fortunate. In 2002, HSBC Bank USA decided to use a New York City agency instead of the Wolf Group's offices in Buffalo. The loss of business crippled the agency and it eventually left the Buffalo market.
That same year the Schutte Group lost HealthNow New York, the parent company of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Western New York, to a firm in Boston. Schutte laid off a third of its staff and merged the next year with SKM.
In February, the firm's founder, Alden Schutte, left SKM to become senior vice president of corporate affairs at HealthNow. His wife, Susan, remains an executive vice president with SKM.