Executives at AT&T Wireless Services have asked McCann-Erickson here to remain on its account through March, despite an earlier decision by parent AT&T Corp. to remove the agency's San Francisco and New York offices from its roster, according to agency executives.
"We have been asked to stay on the business for a bit longer than we anticipated," said Ron Benza, executive vice president and general manager of McCann's San Francisco office.
The agency was asked to remain, according to sources, because Foote, Cone & Belding, whose San Francisco office is taking over the account, does not yet have the infrastructure in place to handle such a retail-intensive effort. McCann has retail field offices solely devoted to AT&T in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle and San Francisco. All creative work is done in San Francisco.
FCB also needs time to add enough staff to handle two recent wins, Taco Bell's field marketing assignment and 3 Com, and reorganize the creative department for the Levi's pitch, sources said.
"We are moving very quickly to add the staff that we need for all our new business," said Jack Boland, executive vice president and general manager of FCB, San Francisco. "And we are fully aware of how demanding the AT&T account will be."
McCann prevailed over FCB's San Francisco office in a pitch for the $90 million wireless business two years ago, but AT&T announced last week that FCB would take it over. In addition, FCB's New York office last week picked up AT&T's business-to-business account from McCann, also in New York. AT&T roster shop Young & Rubicam, New York, was awarded media planning duties, which were formerly at FCB, San Francisco.
Sources said McCann's San Francisco office was "penalized" for AT&T Corp.'s dissatisfaction with McCann, New York, and that AT&T Wireless "had no say" in keeping McCann on its account.