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VTEL Seeks Audio, Video Match

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Austin, Texas, videoconferencing firm VTEL is preparing to hear presentations from a group of finalists for its $5 million-plus account, which was recently resigned by local agency SicolaMartin.
Barry Rumac, marketing director of VTEL, confirmed the review last week, stating that shops selected from four cities--including Texas markets--were in the running.
He declined to name any of the agencies. Boston-based consultant Grant Schneider is conducting the review, which is closed to further entrants.
SicolaMartin president Steve Martin said last week his agency quit the business after a conflict arose with a current client. At press time, the agency was withholding that client's name pending authorization by the company.
Rumac said a decision is expected in the next six weeks. He said the possibility exists that more than one shop could be chosen to work on the assignments previously at SicolaMartin. The Austin agency previously handled VTEL's general marketing, interactive and collateral assignments.
Rumac would not give a spending figure but said the marketing budget would increase "substantially" above the $3-5 million handled by SicolaMartin. VTEL shareholders this spring approved a merger with another videoconferencing company, Compression Labs. That union boosted VTEL into the No. 2 position in the category. It also jumped from 500 to 800 employees and expects annualized revenue to register $200 million, according to a company news release.
SicolaMartin was named agency of record in February 1996 after Rumac had returned to VTEL from Dell Computers of Austin. When Rumac headed marketing for VTEL in 1992 and 1993, he assigned project work to SicolaMartin.
VTEL makes both audio- and videoconferencing equipment. The company offers its products mostly through a reseller network that includes Ameritech, GTE, SBC Communications and Sprint.