Grey Wasn’t Happy That Trade Press Learned About the AT&T Loss Before They Did

By Patrick Coffee 

The big news today in the agency world is, of course, AT&T’s decision to consolidate its creative and media accounts with Omnicom via BBDO and Hearts & Science.

WPP was obviously disappointed to learn of the decision, but this review was unique in at least one respect: The client apparently leaked the news to AdAge before it told the losing agencies about its decision and before Sir Martin Sorrell could even write his own memo about it.

Grey global president and North American CEO Michael Houston was understandably a little irritated. He just sent out this all-staff memo.


Hello, People.

Many of you have probably heard by now that WPP did not win the AT&T account. I assure you that I learned the outcome only moments before it broke in AdAge and I regret that the agency heard it from a trade publication before hearing it directly from us. Not our style.

I recognize and appreciate that many people gave up their Summer and put their personal lives on hold to deliver this pitch. On behalf of the entire management team, I extend the deepest and most sincere gratitude for your hard work and dedication.

Like all pitches, many things factor into a client’s decision and one can never really know for sure all the details that contribute to a win or loss; however, I can say without hesitation that our creative product was world class and contributed positively to our overall scorecard.

Speaking of scorecards, we may be down for a hot second, but it would be unwise to ever count us out. We’ll rally as we always do and I’m confident we’ll be on the winning side of the equation when the final tally is taken.

Thanks again for being nothing short of stellar and thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made on behalf of the agency.

Enjoy the weekend.

This is a bit unusual for Houston, as we can say from personal experience that he is generally a very measured guy.

All’s fair in love and war.