DDB Forms Unit to Handle Qwest

DDB Chicago sold itself to Qwest Communications with the argument that it could save the troubled com pany $9 million a year by establishing a sep arate unit to handle var ious aspects of the $100 million account, the agency said.

“Under one company, it becomes more efficient to provide Qwest with all of its marketing needs,” said Tom Cotton, who was named general manager of the newly formed DDBQ.

Cotton will report to DDB worldwide president Ken Kaess. He was formerly president of DDB Ventures, which oversees the agency’s alliances and joint ventures.

DDBQ will be headquartered in Chicago, with field offices in Denver and Phoenix. Cotton declined to be specific on staffing, saying the new entity would employ “dozens and dozens” of people from various Omnicom Group divisions, including I2i Communications, New York, and Tribal DDB, Chi cago. OMD USA, New York, continues to handle media planning and buying.

Cotton had worked with Qwest at J. Walter Thompson before joining DDB in July 2000, which is why he was brought in to lead the pitch. JWT New York, which handled Qwest’s corporate-image and B2B accounts, withdrew from the review in mid-March, leaving DDB and Foote, Cone & Belding, New York. DDB was the incumbent for the client’s long-distance business and QwestDex Yellow Pages.

Qwest, a Denver-based telecommunications company, last June slashed its marketing budget by 75 percent and put a planned rebranding effort on hold, citing poor sales.