Business was already looking up for BBDO South here when last week the agency was handed Georgia-Pacific's estimated $25 million consumer packaged-goods advertising account.
The Atlanta client confirmed it is shifting the business from Wells BDDP in New York, which will close its doors May 13 [Adweek, March 16]. Wells and BBDO South--both members of Omnicom Group--competed for the account last fall. BBDO South has handled Georgia-Pacific's corporate ad-vertising for 10 years.
"We're taking over immediately," said BBDO South executive vice president and general manager Jeff Upshaw, who attended orientation meetings with Georgia-Pacific (G-P) marketing executives last week. Also present at the client meetings were BBDO North America president Tom Carey and newly appointed BBDO South president and chief executive officer Chris Hall. Hall begins his post today after serving as senior vice president, group account director and director of business development at J. Walter Thompson in Atlanta.
BBDO South will handle advertising for four G-P brands: Angel Soft and MD toilet paper, and Sparkle and Coronet paper towels. Television will likely be the primary medium.
Because the shop has little recent packaged-goods experience, "we will be utilizing the strengths of BBDO North America to help us" with the G-P account Upshaw said. He added that Carey will be "deeply involved."
The G-P win is the latest in a recent string of new clients for BBDO South, including $10 million in billings from AGL Investments in Atlanta and the U.S. account of Iberia Airlines.
Carey has said that BBDO South is emerging from "the dark days of Delta [Air Lines]," referring to the exit of that $60 million flagship account from the shop's roster last year.
BBDO South currently employs 127, down from 200-plus a year ago. Prior to the G-P gain, agency billings were estimated at $200 million, compared to $265 million in 1996.