Calgary’s Wax Partnership closes its doors

Calgary agency Wax Partnership has closed its doors after 14 years, citing “unforeseen circumstances and a deepening economic recession” that has left it unable to continue operating.

“We are grateful for the opportunity we had to work with so many creative people, smart clients and talented partners over the past 14 years,” said a statement on the Wax website. “Thank you to everyone who contributed to our journey.”

Wax did not respond to interview requests, but group account director Jay Kilby confirmed the closure on LinkedIn on Sunday. He noted that he is resurrecting his former “post-digital” agency Curatr, which he ran from 2011 to 2014, and worked with clients including TIFF, ScribbleLive and agencies including Havas.

While the next few weeks and months will likely be a trying time for advertising agencies, with clients expected to rein in advertising spend in response to the COVID pandemic, Kilby told The Message late Monday that the agency actually shut down on March 13, just as the full magnitude of the crisis started to wash across North America and businesses began implementing work from home procedures.

On March 12, online research firm eMarketer shaved nearly 3% or $20.3 billion off its global ad spend forecast for 2020, although it said that much of the retraction would be in China, which has been the epicentre for the COVID outbreak and which eMarketer analysts have had more time to study the impact of reduced advertiser spending.

During a recent podcast outlining how the COVID outbreak might impact ad spend, eMarketer forecasting analyst Eric Haggstrom, said that the company expects to see a slowdown across much of the media ecosystem.

TV is likely to be negatively impacted, he said, while radio will be hurt because of a lack of commuters as people transition to working from home, while search companies like Google will be negatively impacted by a slowdown in travel spending.

Chris Powell