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Focus, Omnicom U.K. Ally Acquire Shell Chemicals

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The Focus Agency here and pitch partner Maher Bird Associates of London topped three other finalists to land advertising duties for Shell Chemicals.
Sources said Focus received word of its selection last Wednesday and will meet with Shell executives in coming weeks to begin mapping out strategic issues and preliminary advertising plans. Annual billings are undisclosed but will likely exceed $10 million.
Focus president Mark Miller referred calls to the client in London. Shell officials could not be reached, and review consultant Ann Iverson of Creating Selling Opportunities in Houston did not return calls.
Left behind were three other American shops and their London-area partners: Bates Southwest, Houston, with Bates Dorland; BBDO South, Atlanta, with Clarke Hooper Consulting; and Ketchum Advertising, Pittsburgh, with TBWA Payne Stracey.
Initial spending in this country will likely be $5-10 million--the figure proposed last year when the client began shopping what was then a U.S.-only assignment. A subsequent corporate restructuring transformed the account into a global initiative, with new contenders required to partner with shops overseas. Focus and Maher Bird are both Omnicom agencies.
The bulk of the account will consist of business-to-business marketing, with an emphasis on print media. Shell Chemicals manufactures substances like Kraton, used in Ray-Ban sunglasses, and Neodol, an ingredient in laundry detergent.
The win is a further boost for Focus. Since losing sole client GTE in February 1997, the agency has rebounded to win the accounts of Qwest Communications, Prevue Networks and PageNet. The shop expects 1998 billings to exceed $60 million.