GSD&M Nets All Of SW Bell

Loses Pacific Bell Creative Chores in Consolidation
DALLAS–SBC Communications’ latest agency consolidation and a decision to split creative assignments by brand netted GSD&M new Southwestern Bell assignments but will lead the shop to close its San Francisco outpost for Pacific Bell Mobile Services.
San Antonio-based SBC ended a 30-year relationship with D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in St. Louis, shifting that agency’s assignments to roster shops GSD&M, Austin, Texas, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco. GSD&M assumes DMB&B’s work for SBC’s Southwestern Bell; Goodby takes over the Pacific Bell unit.
DMB&B handled creative development and media planning for consumer services including CallNotes, Call Waiting and additional phone lines. Sources estimated spending on that business at $50 million.
SBC also moved the Pac Bell Mobile Systems and Yellow Pages creative accounts from GSD&M to Goodby and Southwestern Bell branding and long-distance creative work from Goodby to GSD&M. The shift gives GSD&M full responsibility for Southwestern Bell consumer creative work and Goodby the same duties for Pacific Bell.
A GSD&M representative said a 20-person office opened earlier this year for Pac Bell Mobile Services will be closed after the account transition is complete–probably in the next 90 days. The shop is evaluating whether some staffers will move to Austin. GSD&M is also determining how many employees will be hired to work on the business acquired from DMB&B and Goodby.
An SBC representative said the creative shifts were made so GSD&M and Goodby could focus on building a single brand name in their respective markets. GSD&M continues to handle SBC’s consolidated media buying account, won last year. SBC posted $194.5 million in major media spending in 1997, per Competitive Media Reporting.
DMB&B’s exit continues a three-year consolidation that has seen SBC’s agency stable cut from more than 15 shops to six.