GSD&M Raids Sibling Shop for Schwab Account

NEW YORK — Charles Schwab & Co.’s decision to shift its creative account from BBDO to GSD&M last week was rooted in the client’s desire to adopt a more retail-minded strategy, after four years of celebrity-driven efforts from BBDO, sources said.

Schwab also is moving toward a more integrated approach to marketing, with less emphasis on TV, said sources. The abrupt shift was made without a review and after GSD&M, a Schwab roster shop since 2000, presented work on a CyberTrader assignment that the San Francisco client wanted to use in a broader campaign. “We were just doing our job,” said Alicia Smith Kriese, group director at GSD&M, an Omnicom shop like BBDO. “Obviously, [the result is] beyond our expectations.”

BBDO, which had handled the corporate-image business since 1998, was caught off guard by its dismissal, which came Thursday afternoon in a phone call from Jack Calhoun, evp, advertising and brand management at Schwab, said sources. The New York shop was said to be working on a new campaign that had been positively received by client executives.

The agency’s last TV work on the brand featured baseball slugger Barry Bonds and home run king Hank Aaron, with Aaron whispering over a stadium intercom, “It’s time to walk into retirement.”