Ad recession forces Martin Smith's shop to shut after a year

Rapley Smith & Jones, the agency founded by the former Grey Worldwide London chief executive, Martin Smith, with Mark Rapley and Roisin Robothan-Jones, is being "mothballed" after less than a year in business.

Their decision to cease trading comes in the wake of their failure last month to capture the £70 million pan-European account of Sony Electronics, which was awarded to Fallon.

The "mothballing" gives the partners the option to set up again should the economic climate improve. But Smith admitted: "I don't think there's ever been a time when there has been so little cause for optimism in the business."

Smith set up the agency in January with Rapley, the former BMP DDB deputy managing director, and Robothan-Jones, a co-founder of the product distribution company Ark. All hold equal equity in the start-up.

Its premise was to outsource most of its work and act as "quality controller" on all client needs from creative work and media buying to TV programme making and PR.