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Handled Telecom's Ad Work Since 1994

By Published on .

SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Telecommunications giant SBC Communications has fired Goodby, Silverstein & Partners from its estimated $100 million advertising
account, according to executives familiar with the situation.

The staff of the Omnicom Group agency was informed today, according to an knowledgeable executive. Officials at the San Francisco shop could not be reached for comment.

A SBC spokesman confirmed the split.

No review
"Goodby has done some outstanding work for us in the past, but moving forward we decided to head in a different direction," said Larry Solomon, SBC corporate communications. He said that several of SBC's existing agencies will pick up the business, mostly product advertising, that had been handled by Goodby Silverstein. Mr. Solomon would name only two of those agencies: Omnicom shops Merkley Newman Harty & Partners, New York, and GSD&M, Austin, Texas, which handles media buying and planning. There will be no review.

Agency since 1994
Goodby Silverstein won SBC's Pacific Bell account in 1994. In May 2002, SBC awarded Omnicom sibling Merkley Newman Harty & Partners, New York, a major corporate campaign introducing the SBC brand to California and Nevada. Earlier this year, SBC announced plans to drop the Pacific Bell name.

Merkley Newman's SBC effort

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featured hard-working SBC employees and stressed the immense size of the company, which has more than 180,000 employees. SBC, which began in Texas and the southwestern U.S., has purchased phone companies nationwide, including Ameritech in 1999, Southern New England Telecommunications in 1998, and Pacific Telesis Group, the holding company that owned Pacific Bell and Nevada Bell, in 1997. It also owns 60% of Cingular Wireless.

Highly respected
Goodby Silverstein produced a number of award-winning campaigns for SBC, including one for Pac Bell's DSL Internet service featuring the fictitious Laurel Lane, a once lovely community plagued by neighbors shouting "Web Hog" and cutting cable lines to make their Internet access faster. The agency's most recent effort supported SBC's entrance into the long-distance market in California.

SBC spent $654.9 million in measured media in the U.S. from January to November 2002, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

Tobi Elkin and Lisa Sanders contributed to this report.

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