Wesley Medical Center has chosen a new advertising agency to handle its work in 2010, and its current agency said it has decided to sever its ties early with the city's second-largest hospital.
Howerton and White said Thursday that it had resigned its account with Wesley.
Associated has been selected as Wesley's new agency of record.
A Howerton official would not disclose how much of a financial impact the loss of Wesley's business would have on his 13-employee agency, but said it would not result in any immediate layoffs.
"At this point in time, we don't foresee that happening," said Bryan Malone, a principal with the company. "But we always have to evaluate that as it comes."
Paul Pettite, Wesley's vice president for marketing and public relations, said he told Howerton that his hospital had decided to go in a "different direction" with another agency beginning in 2010 but planned to retain Howerton through the end of the year.
"It was a mutual resignation, so to speak," Pettite said.
Pettite would also not disclose the dollar value of Wesley's advertising business.
Malone said his agency had the Wesley account for about five years, and he personally worked on the account for nearly 10 years. He brought the account to Howerton when he left Craghead & Harrold, Malone said.
He said Howerton decided to resign the account early so it could pursue "new opportunities."
Malone said now that the agency no longer has the Wesley account it "opens us to more health care options."
Doing business with one company in an industry can sometimes prevent an agency from successfully luring other companies in the same industry, especially if that client is a chief competitor to an existing client.
"If someone is doing work for a bank like Commerce Bank, you're probably not going to have business with Bank of America as a client,"
Shawn Steward, director of public relations for Associated, confirmed his 35-employee agency's new business with Wesley.
"We are pleased that we are working with Wesley Medical Center," Steward said.
He declined further comment on the impact of the new business to Associated.
Steward also would not discuss what the implications are of his agency taking on the Wesley account after previously having the account of Wesley's chief competitor, Via Christi Health.
"Out of respect for both relationships we don't wish to comment any further," he said.
Mike McLaughlin, Via Christi's communications director, said Associated's previous ties to his company and now Wesley doesn't affect Via Christi.