TWO REVIEWS, ONE WINNER: SBC GIVES BIZ TO GSD&M: TEXAS TELCO TAPS AUSTIN AGENCY FOR $150 MILLION MEDIA ACCOUNT, WIRELESS WORK

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GSD&M netted its biggest win of 1997 by landing agency of record status for all of SBC Communications' media buying as well as creative work on wireless in two separate consolidation reviews with billings of more than $150 million.

The win caps the 25th year for the $480.8 million shop, based on 1996 billings. It also gained this year the $32 million Bank of America media assignment, the $12 million Power Computing account and $10 million Haggar Clothing Co. account. Existing client Southwest Airlines also moved an additional $40 million worth of business to the agency.

Executives close to the SBC review said the Austin, Texas-based agency was helped by the fact that, like the Baby Bell, it's headquartered in Texas.

The naming of just one agency for both SBC reviews was a surprise to finalists, who had been told two separate agencies would be selected.

According to one participating agency executive, SBC chairman-CEO Ed Whitacre ended up deciding for one shop.

GSD&M first was declared the wireless creative winner, so the agency was given the media assignment as well, the executive said, though others indicated the one-agency decision simply reflects SBC's desire to trim its agency roster.

SHOP ADDS STAFF

GSD&M will add about 25 employees in the next month to handle the business. Some will be in its new San Francisco office, where the wireless account will be based, others in Austin, where media work is located.

Judy Trabulsi, exec VP and a GSD&M founder, will lead the media team.

The $150 million represents media billings; GSD&M will be paid an undisclosed fee for wireless creative work.

Two review panels heard the pitches, with about 15 members on the wireless team and four on the media decision team. Consultant Ken Bowes of Wanamaker Associates, Atlanta, handled the media review and was on the media panel. Three SBC executives, including Linda Mills, senior VP-corporate communications, and William Morgan, VP-brand management and advertising, were on both review panels.

FINALISTS

Other finalists in the wireless review were Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich.; Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis; and DDB Needham Worldwide and McCann-Erickson Worldwide, both New York.

Other finalists for the media review were DDB Needham's Optimum Media, New York, and Leo Burnett USA, Chicago.

Although GSD&M had some big wins this year, a few got away. While the agency retained media duties for MasterCard International, it failed to gain the creative work, which switched from Ammirati Puris Lintas to McCann-Erickson Worldwide, both New York. GSD&M also failed in the $240 million Mazda North America Operations pitch.

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