Grey's demonstrated high-tech and telecom experience and its dedication to client ser vice were key to landing the estimated $120 million BellSouth review last week, sources said.
"This pitch was won by darkGrey," said Steve Blamer, president of Grey New York, referring to the Grey unit that specializes in high-tech accounts. "This win validates the 'village' concept that puts the client first."
Blamer was referring to how he restructured the agency into 10 so-called "villages" earlier this year, each with a particular specialty.
Additionally, darkGrey's success in marketing clients such as Oracle Corp., Unisys and DoubleClick was crit ical, given BellSouth's strategic decision to move heavily into long distance and data delivery during the next three years, sources said.
Executive creative director Dave Tutin and evp Steve Centrillo, managing partners of darkGrey, led the pitch.
Sources said darkGrey presented creative that encompassed all the capabilities BellSouth offers: small business, consumer, DSL, big business and long distance.
Atlanta-based consultancy Wan amaker Associates managed the review. The finalists included The Richards Group in Dallas, Arnold in Boston and New York incumbent Merkley Newman Harty & Partners, whose relationship with the client deteriorated after the de parture of partner Steve Harty in August. Sources said Grey convinced BellSouth that it would receive impeccable account service from darkGrey's 30 New York staffers.
Alan Blount, vp of marketing for the Atlanta-based client, said strategy was more important than creative in deciding a winner.
Blount has also worked with Tutin before—when he was at AT&T and Tutin was a creative on the account at McCann-Erickson, New York, in 1994.
William Pate, vp of advertising and public relations, Marcie Raible, media and promotions director, Pam Jones, vp of consumer marketing, and Blount were the leaders of the 10-member selection committee, sources said.
Atlanta's 360—which pitched the business in conjunction with Grey—will likely be acquired by the agency, with a deal before the end of the year, sources said.