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GSD&M Nets All Of SW Bell

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Loses Pacific Bell Creative Chores in Consolidation
DALLAS--SBC Communications' latest agency consolidation and a decision to split creative assignments by brand netted GSD&M new Southwestern Bell assignments but will lead the shop to close its San Francisco outpost for Pacific Bell Mobile Services.
San Antonio-based SBC ended a 30-year relationship with D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in St. Louis, shifting that agency's assignments to roster shops GSD&M, Austin, Texas, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco. GSD&M assumes DMB&B's work for SBC's Southwestern Bell; Goodby takes over the Pacific Bell unit.
DMB&B handled creative development and media planning for consumer services including CallNotes, Call Waiting and additional phone lines. Sources estimated spending on that business at $50 million.
SBC also moved the Pac Bell Mobile Systems and Yellow Pages creative accounts from GSD&M to Goodby and Southwestern Bell branding and long-distance creative work from Goodby to GSD&M. The shift gives GSD&M full responsibility for Southwestern Bell consumer creative work and Goodby the same duties for Pacific Bell.
A GSD&M representative said a 20-person office opened earlier this year for Pac Bell Mobile Services will be closed after the account transition is complete--probably in the next 90 days. The shop is evaluating whether some staffers will move to Austin. GSD&M is also determining how many employees will be hired to work on the business acquired from DMB&B and Goodby.
An SBC representative said the creative shifts were made so GSD&M and Goodby could focus on building a single brand name in their respective markets. GSD&M continues to handle SBC's consolidated media buying account, won last year. SBC posted $194.5 million in major media spending in 1997, per Competitive Media Reporting.
DMB&B's exit continues a three-year consolidation that has seen SBC's agency stable cut from more than 15 shops to six.