BBL Scales Back On PictureTel, Adds Others

BBL Advertising is scaling back its relationship with troubled videoconferencing firm PictureTel.
The Acton, Mass., shop will continue to work for the client on a project basis, creating trade campaigns for various products, but no longer considers itself agency of record, said BBL president Barbara Sabran.
PictureTel’s continued financial woes and its inability to focus on a unified corporate advertising strategy are believed to have sparked friction between the two parties.
Sabran declined to disclose why the three-month relationship soured. Executives with Andover, Mass.-based PictureTel did not return calls.
The reduced role with PictureTel will result in “absolutely zero layoffs” at the shop, which has some 30 staffers, Sabran said.
Several million dollars in recent new business wins–notably Danvers Hollywood Hits in Danvers, Mass.; Senormatic in Boca Raton, Fla.; and TechOnLine in Waltham, Mass.–will help mitigate the loss of some PictureTel billings.
When BBL picked up PictureTel following a review [Adweek, May 24], Sabran tagged spending at $5 million and called the win a significant step forward for her 10-year-old agency.
Since then, BBL has developed print projects for the client, including ads that have run in The Wall Street Journal and technology publications, she said.
PictureTel, partly owned by Intel Corp., reported a $32 million loss for the second quarter ended in June following a $26 million loss for the first quarter ended in March.