GTE’s Top Direct Response Shops Square Off; New Management At Epsilon Leads Its Pitch

BOSTON-GTE Communications Corp. in Irving, Texas, is pitting two of its agencies against each other for a direct marketing assignment, the GTE division confirmed last week.
Epsilon, with offices in Burlington, Mass., and Carrollton, Texas, and OgilvyOne in New York are pursuing the business: selling local phone service to business customers in markets deregulated as a result of the Telecom Act.
“We do have a review under way with our two primary direct response agencies,” said Brian Blevins, manager of media relations for GTE Corp. “It involves direct marketing work in our non-regulated markets.”
The budget has not been determined, and a decision is expected late this year, Blevins said.
The pitch was the first by Epsilon since a portion of the database marketing firm was sold by its parent company, American Ex-press Travel Related Services, to a group of investors led by DMDA, a direct marketing agency located in Carrollton.
American Express continues to hold a minority interest of 20 percent in the new company, which will retain the Epsilon name and include the operations and staff of both DMDA and Epsilon.
DMDA president and chief executive officer Bob Mohr, who spearheaded the deal, holds the same title at Epsilon and will relocate to Massachusetts. In a telephone interview last week, Mohr said he first approached American Express about buying Epsilon in 1996.
Epsilon and DMDA both did direct marketing work for GTE prior to the merger.
The GTE pitch was the first opportunity to present Epsilon as a full-service direct marketing agency. That deal was finalized on Friday, Nov. 7, with the agency’s presentation to the client scheduled just three days later on Monday.
GTE Communications Corp. was one of three divisions formed when GTE’s Telephone Operations unit in Irving was restructured last May.