SOURCE: Carton Donofrio Partners

Carton Donofrio Partners

September 04, 2013 09:05 ET

Carton Donofrio Partners to Close After 50 Years of Leadership in the Mid-Atlantic Advertising Community

BALTIMORE, MD--(Marketwired - Sep 4, 2013) - Carton Donofrio Partners, a full-service marketing communications firm in Baltimore, today announced it will close its operation after 50 years of representing clients in the region and around the globe. The company cited changes in the advertising agency industry and personal matters as factors in the decision.

Carton Donofrio Partners was founded as Richardson, Myers & Donofrio (RM&D) in 1964 by Baltimore advertising legend Hal Donofrio. Donofrio's son, Chuck, became chief executive officer in 1993 and led the agency for 17 years before he was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's disease. In 2010, Ellen Moore became chief executive officer after 10 years at the agency, most recently as its chief operating officer.

"The advertising agency business model is facing unprecedented change as client demand shifts to highly specialized firms and alternative fee structures," said Moore. "This reality coupled with private family-related considerations for the Donofrios led the board to make the decision to close this amazing chapter of our lives."

The Advertising Agency Federation of Baltimore awarded a Silver Medal Award to Chuck Donofrio in 2011. The award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the advertising industry and been active in furthering the industry's standards. Under his leadership, the agency was among the first in the region to embrace digital media, pioneering online advertising in the higher education sector and developing early social media concepts. He remains chairman of the company's board of directors.

"While this was an incredibly tough decision, it was critical to act now when we are in a strong financial position and able to handle this transition with the same care and integrity with which we've run this company for decades," said Moore. "As such, we will honor all obligations to our clients and our vendors in order to minimize the impact of our decision. We are also working to ease the transition for our current employees whose dedication to great work and client service has been critical to our business."

Carton Donofrio Partners has served a wide range of consumer and business-to-business clients over its five-decade history. Among its most notable clients were BGE, Sylvan Learning Centers, T. Rowe Price, Calvert Investments, National Association of Realtors, Walden University, EverBank, University of Maryland University College, Armstrong, DuPont, American Institute of Architects, Black & Decker, Prince Tennis Racquets, Visit Baltimore and the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

"We are immensely proud of the work we've done for our clients, the quality of the creative and the impact of the campaigns," said Moore. "We are humbled by the fact that our average client tenure is six years, compared to the national industry average of two years."

Hal Donofrio is also known for creating Campaign For Our Children (CFOC), a public awareness program that targets nine- to 14-year-olds by using a variety of methods to communicate adolescent preventive health messages, such as abstinence, to teens, their parents and their communities. Founded in 1987, CFOC's materials have appeared in all 50 states. Its extensive, multi-year campaign for the Governor's Council on Adolescent Pregnancy in Maryland led to sustained drops in teen birth rates. Among its well-recognized messages is the billboard that reads, "VIRGIN: Teach your kid it's not a dirty word."

Over the years, Carton Donofrio Partners invested heavily in CFOC, contributing much of the creative work pro-bono and leveraging its media relationships to optimize exposure for the campaign.

"We will be forever grateful for the contributions made by the hundreds of talented professionals who became part of our agency's extended family," said Hal Donofrio. "The silver lining in this situation is the knowledge that those individuals will continue to positively impact the industry."

Carton Donofrio Partners will scale back in the coming weeks until all client work is successfully transitioned.

About Carton Donofrio Partners, Inc.

Carton Donofrio Partners is an award-winning advertising agency in Baltimore. The agency is a member of Worldwide Partners which enables it to work seamlessly with 91 independent agencies in 51 countries around the world. For more information, visit www.cartondonofrio.com or call 410.576.9000.