Bates to Lose Texaco to BBDO

By Cristina Merrill and Glen Fest

NEW YORK–Texaco is planning to shift an estimated $30-40 million in billings from Bates USA to its lead corporate agency, BBDO Worldwide in New York, sources said last week.

The account represents the White Plains, N.Y.-based company’s product and retail duties, which Bates has serviced mostly out of its Houston office, Bates Southwest.

Bates Southwest chairman and chief executive officer Jerry Kerr said he had no knowledge of the account move.

‘Not as far as I know,’ said Kerr. ‘I have not heard that.’

Texaco could not be reached for comment at press time. BBDO officials declined comment.

Bates Southwest coordinates all of the account service for Texaco’s product advertising, as well as media planning and promotional activities for Texaco gasoline and creative for Havoline brands, Express Lube oil change centers and other divisions, including motor sports.

Bates utilizes sister company Zenith Media for buying. The Bates office in New York handles creative branding efforts.

BBDO, which won Texaco’s estimated $20-25 million corporate account in January, is working on a campaign due to break around Labor Day. That advertising would be available in time for the U.S. Open tennis tournament and the beginning of the football season.

It was the corporate work, which sources said Texaco was pleased with, that may have triggered the agency shift.

Sources said that BBDO and Texaco have yet to determine the exact location that the agency will use to service the account. One possibility that was briefly discussed, sources added, would be for BBDO to buy Bates’ Houston office.

Texaco spent about $37 million on its retail and products marketing in 1996, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

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