The Austin, Texas, agency has added $150 million in billings since June, including last week's win of the $40 million Pennzoil/Jiffy Lube account. Annual billings have reached $550 million, double the level of two years ago.
"This is our 25th anniversary and we set out to make it our year," said President Roy Spence, who co-founded the agency in 1971. "Around here, we call it BHAG: big, hairy, audacious goals."
GSD&M beat out three agencies for Pennzoil: Incumbent Lois/EJL, Houston; Richards Group, Dallas; and Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis.
TWO IMAGE WINS
A few weeks earlier, it edged out Young & Rubicam in a pitch for an oil-industry image campaign that will bill at least $25 million annually. Just weeks before that, GSD&M won a similar image assignment, worth another $25 million, from the U.S. steel industry.
Earlier in the summer, the agency won two assignments-for cellular services and Yellow Pages-from existing client SBC Communications worth $60 million in billings.
Mr. Spence said the agency's success this year can be traced to a book, "Built to Last," he read two years ago. In it, author Jim Collins reported on an in-depth study of "visionary" companies-those that had achieved excellence through decades of innovation.
NO COMPROMISING VALUES
"There were things all these companies had in common," Mr. Spence said. "One was that they all had values they would not compromise even if they were punished for that."
Mr. Spence asked Mr. Collins to visit the agency. Then Mr. Spence and employees developed a set of core values that would help GSD&M build staying power: Community, curiosity, freedom and responsibility, restlessness and winning.
If plans stay on course, the agency will cap off the year with a move into a new, 85,000-square-foot building in downtown Austin, to be called Idea City.