GSD&M Nabs Air Force Account

GSD&M’s fieldwork was the key to its win last week of the U.S. Air Force’s $50 million recruitment-advertising account.

“We did very extensive focus-group testing,” said GSD&M representative Eric Webber. “I think we really got a handle on what the major issue is. The challenge is recruiting military people in peace time—what do you talk about?”

The Austin, Texas-based shop beat out two finalists, said an Air Force representative: incumbent Bozell Kamstra Texas in Irving, Texas; and Image Media Services in McLean, Va., a small, minority-owned shop.

Compensation for the five-year contract, which carries a possible two-year extension, is based en-tirely on performance incentives.

The selection ends a review pro-cess that began in May. Two other military branches—the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army—also held reviews this summer with the goal of shifting to performance-based contracts with their respective agencies.

Shop president Roy Spence was unavailable for comment.

According to the Air Force’s RFP, major ad-vertising goals will be to increase recruitment, im-prove retention and dev-elop public support.

GSD&M’s partners in the Air Force win are Dieste & Partners in Dallas, which will handle Hispanic advertising; GMR in San Antonio, for event marketing; Footsteps in New York, for African American advertising; Targetbase in Dallas, for direct marketing; and Red Sky in Houston, for interactive work.

GSD&M officially starts work on the account in February 2001. Deborah Cavanagh, agency vp and director of new business, will lead the transition account team. Robbie Caponetto