Cable giant Tele-Communications Inc. has quietly awarded its estimated $30 million to $40 million account to a creative-only outfit called Red Ball Tiger, formed by longtime associates Gregory Wilson and Michael Fromowitz.
The TCI account was most recently handled by Hal Riney & Partners, where Mr. Wilson, 40, was senior VP-creative director. Since being cut loose from Riney amid staff cutbacks last year, he has free-lanced.
He and Mr. Fromowitz, 47, first worked together at Foote, Cone & Belding, Toronto, 15 years ago and have stayed in touch ever since, musing about breaking away from big shops to start their own agency.
With Red Ball Tiger, they plan to pursue other accounts but want to add no more than four more to their roster. Media planning and buying will be parceled out to independent media companies.
"What usually dies when you get too big is the passion and the capability to do great work," Mr. Fromowitz said. "There just isn't enough time out on clients' businesses."
The account win and Red Ball Tiger are so new that partners Wilson and Fromowitz are currently working out of Mr. Wilson's San Francisco home.
The duo, however, plans to open offices-and affiliate with associate creative partners-in San Francisco, Toronto and Hong Kong to service TCI and pursue other clients.
Mr. Fromowitz, former chairman-executive creative director of the Ball Partnership, Hong Kong, has resigned his most recent post as senior VP-executive creative director of McCann-Erickson, Toronto, to form the new shop.
For Englewood, Colo.-based cable giant TCI, which they signed just last month, Messrs. Wilson, a writer, and Fromowitz, an art director, are already working on a series of TV spots.
The agency's third partner is Carey Crosby, former Riney VP-executive producer.