Preakness ad agency closes up shop

by | Jan 11, 2017 | Breaking, Business, Maryland, MD Business

by Frank Vespe

Longtime Preakness advertising agency the Leffler Agency ceased operations last week, Baltimore Business Journal reports.

According to the publication, the company cited financial pressures as the reason to shut down.  The publication said that the company had faced more than $200,000 in tax liens in recent months.

This past October, the Maryland Jockey Club had unveiled the logo for the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes, which will take place May 20, 2017.  That logo, for the 18th consecutive time, was designed by the Leffler Agency.

In this video, by filmmaker Jeff Krulik, Bob Leffler, Rich the Teller, and Ron Knoblock chat about Preaknesses past on the eve of Preakness 2016.  Leffler arrives at the 4:30 mark.

“As racing in the state of Maryland is on the rise, the Preakness as an event is also gaining more prominence. This year’s modern design was inspired by the industry’s momentum and therefore conveys a sense of forward motion while appealing to a younger audience,” Heather Connellee, then-CEO of Leffler Agency, said at the time in a release.

Bob Leffler founded the company in 1984 after his then-employer — the Baltimore Colts NFL franchise — left town in its famous “midnight ride.”  For most of its existence, the company’s bread-and-butter had been sports marketing, with Baltimore’s professional sports teams, Naval Academy athletics, and Towson University athletics among its clients.

But a recent attempted transition to a more broad-based clientele did not go well enough to supplant the loss of some university programs and, in 2012, the Baltimore Orioles.

Leffler, 71, said that he expects to do some consulting, as well as continuing to serve on various boards.  He cited his role in helping the Cleveland Browns relocate to Baltimore, as the Ravens, and in designing the Preakness logo for nearly two decades as among his top accomplishments.