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VTEL Shortens Review, Selects DDB Needham

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VTEL, a videoconferencing company in Austin, Texas, surprised a dozen shops around the country when it opted to assign its estimated $5-8 million ad account to DDB Needham in New York.
Client executives, including marketing vice president Barry Rumac, spent the better part of two weeks visiting 12 agencies from Massachusetts to California. The final agency visit on Sept. 19 was paid to GSD&M, also in Austin. Following the conclusion of that meeting, the decision was made to forego the rest of the review process and award the account to DDB Needham.
VTEL hired Boston-based marketing consultant Grant Schneider to help conduct a review.
"I was just as surprised as anyone by the decision," Schneider said early last week. "But VTEL executives found that DDB had the best combination: good strategic sense and international capabilities.
DDB Needham won the assignment to create the client's first global positioning campaign, which is scheduled to break by February, Schneider said.
VTEL also hired Ogilvy Adams & Rinehart in Chicago for public relations chores and Frog Design in Sunnyvale, Calif., for industrial design duties, Schneider said.
In addition to GSD&M and DDB Needham, other shops considered for the assignment were: Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos and Holland Mark Martin Edmund, both in Boston; Mullen in Wenham, Mass.; Rubin Postaer & Associates in Santa Monica, Calif.; Goldberg Moser O'Neill in San Francisco; Arian, Lowe & Travis Advertising in Chicago; and Hampel/Stefanides, Fallon McElligott Berlin, Hanft Byrne Raboy Abrams & Partners and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, all in New York.
The incumbent, Austin-based SicolaMartin, which had handled VTEL's general marketing, interactive and collateral assignments, resigned the account in August, citing a conflict.