DDB Bass & Howes Gets Welfare Reform Account

SAN francisco—The unit created by DDB’s recent acquisition of a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm is immediately jumping into the contentious issue of welfare reform.

DDB Bass & Howes has been tapped by the Columbia University School of Public Health to help it provide Congress and other policymakers with data about the health-related consequences of laws that give states more latitude in dispensing funds to the needy.

As part of an initiative known as Doctors Speak Out on Welfare Reform, the shop plans to influence policy and funding and educate the public. The effort will highlight medical studies on the impact of welfare-to-work rules on chronically ill women and their children.

The unit landed the account just a week after being formed by DDB Seattle’s acquisition of Bass & Howes, a public-policy lobbying practice. The deal was made to beef up DDB’s Issues & Advo cacy unit, which serves clients with healthcare, human rights and environmental interests. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“We saw that we had some overlap in clients, but no overlap in our service platform,” said Candy Cox, who was managing partner of the DDB unit and now oversees DDB Bass & Howes.

“Now we have the opportunity to offer our clients a full range of communications services,” said Marie Bass, founder of Bass & Howes and a partner at the new firm.

“[The combined entity] can be used to reach more people,” said Esta Soler, president of the San Francisco-based Family Violence Prevention Fund, a Bass & Howes client before the merger.

The merged agency has offices in Seattle, New York and Washington, D.C., a combined staff of 39 and billings of $46 million.

DDB brought clients such as the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The NARAL Foundation and The Alliance to Save Energy. Bass & Howes also brought Genentech, the National Breast Cancer Coalition and Pfizer.