After 18 years with Y&L, Steak n Shake's new CEO, Sardar Biglari, said in November that the restaurant chain is going in a different direction with its advertising and marketing. The relationship has already started to wind down and officially ends Feb. 3, Knapp said.
Though Steak n Shake - which has been plagued recently by declining sales - is Y&L's biggest account, the ad agency is not in danger of going out of business, Knapp said.
"I'm confident we're going to put ourselves in a position to recover from this and thrive," Knapp said. "No partners and no senior members are leaving and no divisions are going away."
To survive, he said, Y&L will begin more aggressively going after national accounts in the retail and consumer packaged-goods categories, green and sustainable goods and services, and - for the first time in many years - the restaurant category.
While the local ad agency's focus will remain on national accounts, Y&L will pursue smaller aspects of accounts and not just agency-of-record assignments.
Y&L also will proceed with plans to launch a design and digital unit in early 2009.