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Pearson ad agency closing after more than three decades

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One of the oldest advertising agencies in Indianapolis, Pearson Partners Inc., is closing after 33 years in business.

President and CEO Ron Pearson, 62, announced the decision in a July 2 e-mail, attributing the closure to difficult economic conditions.

“We’ve struggled through this recession with budgets being cut or eliminated,” he wrote. “These were tough decisions, I’m certain, and I understand.”

Pearson said in his e-mail that a “skeleton crew” of three will stay on for another week or two to finalize details and to pay creditors what it can.

“We do not anticipate, unfortunately, that enough accounts receivable will come in to pay everything,” he said.

The agency has 30-plus clients and roughly a dozen employees remaining, he said. Pearson is referring many of those clients to local advertising and public relations agency Hetrick. Some employees have been interviewing with Hetrick as well, Pearson said.

“It always looked like there were good things ahead and around the corner,” Pearson said Tuesday morning. “But the corner was much farther away than we anticipated.”

Pearson took a huge blow in April 2007, when local electronics and appliance retailer HHGregg decided to switch its $20-million-plus advertising account to Florida-based Zimmerman Advertising.

Profit margins had become so tight that it wasn’t worth trying to compete when HHGregg put the account up for bid early in 2007, Pearson told IBJ. Pearson had handled Gregg’s advertising account for 24 years.

As a result, Pearson lost 15 of 44 employees, including three of five active partners. Two of those, Executive Vice President Larry Fletcher and Chief Financial Officer Terri Brown, retired.

Pearson was ranked as the 11th-largest advertising agency in the city in 2008, according to the most recent IBJ statistics. The firm listed local billings of $26 million, down from $48 million in 2006. Until losing the HHGregg account, the firm regularly ranked among the city's top five or six agencies
 
The agency, located at 3755 E. 82nd St., listed Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, Mike’s Car Wash and Damar Services Inc. among its recent clients.

Pearson founded the agency in 1977 as Pearson Group. The agency changed names over the years to reflect partnership changes, including stints as Pearson Crahan & Fletcher, Pearson Crahan Fletcher England, and Pearson McMahon Fletcher England. The agency became Pearson Partners in 2007.

Pearson said he still wants to be involved in the advertising business but likely not in a full-time capacity.




 

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  • Pearson Good for BSU Interns
    Ron Pearson hired many Ball State interns, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in advertising. They were lucky. They learned from the best. Ball State will miss Pearson Partners.
  • CITY NO BID CONTRACTS
    Maybe if Pearson was smart enough to hire Ballards' son Pearson would still be in business. When the landscape is slanted to Hirons who can compete with Public Corruption... Recomendation apply for jobs and kiss the dirty ring of Hirons.
  • Will be missed
    Ron has always been so generous in his time and abilities in helping those less fortunate. Best of luck to his entire family
  • Truly a great man
    Ron Pearson represents the very best that Indianapolis has in a civic leader. His low key style and generosity to so many people and causes will be long remembered.
    Real class through and through
  • Piercing blow by the economic downturn!
    The economic downturn has affected two advertising and PR firms with which I worked over the past couple of decades. First Hickman + Associates closed shop last year, though Melissa has recently launched HickmanStone Consulting. And now Pearson is closing shop. I worked with Ron and his crew for nearly 10 years when I was heading up advertising and marketing for Walker. While they maintained a blue-chip roster of clients, Ron's dedication to helping community-related causes has been exemplary!
  • Unsettling exit
    Ron Pearson is one of the good guys. My recollections of Ron and his creative staff go back to the agency's early days when the shop was located on (now) Binford Blvd. Pearson consistently produced top creative campaigns for its clients, and will be sorely missed. Best wishes Ron, and good luck with your next move.
  • Ron Pearson
    Ron Pearson's contributions to this coommunity are immeasureable! I worked with him when he was a board member at the chamber of commerce, and was honored when he served as our chairman. His leadership of the United Christmas Service was, in my opinion, his most caring and generous contribution of time, talent, and treasures to those most in need at the neediest time of the year. He never asked for recognition and always gave, both personally and professionally, from the heart. No one cares more about people and how they live than Ron. He is to be commended for all he has done, and I know he will do more! Thanks, Ron!!
  • Ron Pearson
    Ron is a good man. We have had the pleasure of knowing him for many years dating back to when Pearson was the Indiamapolis Indians ad agency. I wish him well and hope that he will find a niche in the advertising business that suits him.
  • Great Partners
    I worked with the Pearson Group, under a variety of names, for 12 years and found them to be extremely creative, professional and supportive. I miss that association even after many years with other companies that used other ad agencies. I wish Ron and all of his colleagues the best in their future endeavors.

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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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