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Texans Claim Last of Cingular

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Targetbase has won the direct marketing business of Cingular Wireless, an estimated $40 million account.

The Irving, Texas, shop defeated finalists Rapp Collins Worldwide and Lowe Live, both New York, DMW Worldwide in Wayne, Pa., and BKV in Atlanta to win the business of the Atlanta-based cellular services provider.

The review was overseen by Wanamaker Associates in Atlanta.

The win represents the final piece of the Cingular Wireless marketing account to be awarded.

BBDO's New York and Atlanta offices won Cingular's $250 million general marketing account last winter. Vidal Partnership in New York grabbed the telecom's Hispanic advertising chores, an estimated $20 million piece of business.

Other roster shops include Ant Farm Interactive in Atlanta (online customer relationship management) and BBDO's Atmosphere in New York (interactive).

Cingular marketing executives confirmed Targetbase's appointment, but declined further comment.

Targetbase chief executive officer David Scholes, who held the same title at Rapp Collins in New York before assuming his present position in February, said it was tough competing against the agency that he was leading just seven months ago.

"It made our job even more competitive," Scholes said.

Both agencies are owned by Omnicom. Targetbase became part of the network in late 1999 through the purchase of parent company M/A/R/C Research.

"I think our skill set ... is to take customer knowledge and turn it into something actionable that produces a result for our clients," Scholes said. "We're one of the few companies I've seen that can take all kinds of data, not just transactional data, and take some meaning from it."

Since joining Targetbase, Scholes, along with executive vice president of sales and marketing Ron van Os, has made new business a priority.

This year Targetbase has added direct and data marketing duties for the U.S. Air Force (in tandem with GSD&M of Austin, Texas) and new assignments from Sony.

The agency had $400 million in billings prior to the Cingular win, with clients including BellSouth, IBM, Marriott and Nestlé.

"We're pleased with our recent business successes," said Scholes. "[Cingular] is going to provide a real opportunity for us to shine."