Lyon Advertising has won five new accounts with combined billings of $8 million.
The largest win is Rackspace Managed Hosting, a San Antonio-based Web specialist whose servers handle the home pages of companies like Canon, Andersen Consulting and Ziff-Davis.
Lyon in Austin, Texas, won the$6 million account in a review pitting it against Rackspace's incumbent agency, Buzzirk of San Antonio, and another, undisclosed contender.
Rackspace complements the rest of Lyon's client roster, which is heavily anchored in technology.
"I've always been very excited about the Internet and consumers' interaction with it," said agency principal Doug Lyon. "Early on we sat down with companies developing Web-based models ... and we still do a lot of work with companies that have potential technologies that can make a bang."
Lyon has created a bang of his own, parlaying a $10,000 bank loan three years ago into an agency now poised to hit $12 million in annualized billings. Lyon, a former assistant creative director at GSD&M and Adweek creative All-Star, capitalized on referrals and Austin's growing technology sector to build the agency.
He also recruited top talent from GSD&M, including vice president of production Brad Langford and, most recently, vice president of new business development Rebecca Mead.
The hiring of Mead, Lyon said, signals a change in the agency's client acquisition strategy. "All our business today has come from referrals," he said. "Now that we're poised to look at $10-20 million accounts, that's not going to happen as often."
The executive team is rounded out by Abe Connally, a 21-year-old former business owner that Lyon hired last year as vice president of the firm's interactive division.
Other recent wins for the agency include The 401K Company, St. Edwards University, Landmark Graphics and the tourism account of New Braunfels, Texas, a site popular for its German heritage and summertime tubing on the Guadalupe River.
"What a run," said Lyon. "We are very fortunate to have a strong reputation in our market and to get all of this business from word of mouth. Our team has worked extremely hard servicing our clients ... and this has led a lot of [them] to talk about us."