After More Than 70 Years, Cincinnati Agency Northlich Closes Its Doors

Industry changes cited as one reason for shuttering shop

Northlich was founded in 1949. Northlich

Independent Cincinnati agency Northlich has announced that it is closing as of today. In a brief statement, the agency said “industry challenges and prevailing market forces” as the main reasons for the closure.

“For seventy years, Northlich’s award-winning creative and our incredibly talented people in partnership with blue-chip companies and brands, have solved some of the toughest marketing challenges, built market share and have surprised and delighted consumers,” noted Kathy Selker, the agency’s CEO. “I am truly grateful to Cincinnati, to our people, our business partners and our clients for all that we have accomplished.”

Over the past few years, the agency attempted to pivot its model to more of a data-driven approach. Additionally, Northlich introduced a healthcare offering—called Stratos—in October of last year. Some of the agency’s consumer clients included the Ohio Lottery Commission, Kroger, Tyson Foods, Visa, DSW, Bird’s Eye and Finlandia. Its Stratos business worked with P&G, St. Elizabeth Healthcare (the largest in Cincinnati) and Norton Healthcare (serving Louisville and Southern Indiana).

The release also noted that “a limited number of Northlich employees will be affected by the firm’s closure.” According to a press release announcing Stratos, the agency, at that time, had 50 employees. In 2017, the agency had a headcount of 60 based on Cincinnati Business Courier data and, in the publication’s latest agency list from, local employees numbered 36 and was the region’s 16th-largest.

A source with knowledge of the matter indicated that employees were provided with “a level of” advance notice and that most have either begun freelancing or transitioned to roles elsewhere.

When asked for comment, the agency referred back to the press statement.

In 2016, Northlich acquired Forza Marketing and marked a significant win for the women-owned businesses in the city.

Earlier this year, the agency named McCann and JWT alum Pat Pujolas as executive creative director.

@zanger Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.
Publish date: August 30, 2019 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT