Toronto Shop Wins $25 Mil. Covad

Canadian shop Gee Jeffery & Partners has won the estimated $25 million Covad Communications account and will open an office in San Francisco to service the high-speed Internet provider.

The Toronto shop, with roughly $100 million in billings, plans to open an office here in January with four or five staffers and could expand it if Covad boosts spending or the shop wins new business. Covad is based in nearby Santa Clara, Calif. Agency management will remain in Toronto.

“The high-speed Internet market has only hit about 15 percent of U.S. homes, so there is a huge chance for growth,” agency CEO Peter Jeffery said, adding that his shop opened during a recession and is not worried about business prospects in San Francisco. “We never thought of ourselves as just a Canadian agency, and this gives us a platform to get more recognition,” he said.

The shop won the business without a review thanks to a prior relationship the client had with agency president Ania Russocki. The account was last handled by Young & Rubicam in San Francisco. A 2003 campaign will include TV, print and direct marketing.

“We chose [GJ&P] because of their creative portfolio, their experience in the telecommunications industry and their ability to break through the clutter of an already crowded space,” said Andy Lockwood, client svp of marketing.

San Francisco will be the second U.S. office for GJ&P. It opened a Cincinnati office in 2001 after winning the roughly $10 million Cincinnati Bell business.