DDB Welcomes AT&T’s B-to-B

NEW YORK AT&T is shifting creative duties on its business-to-business advertising to DDB, AT&T has confirmed. Sources estimated billings at about $120 million.

The bulk of the business is coming out of Rodgers Townsend in St. Louis, which worked on the client’s wired and Real Yellow Pages segments. BBDO in Atlanta recently started handling wireless b-to-b chores that now shift to DDB as well, per AT&T. All three agencies are units of Omnicom Group. (SBC has been a Rodgers Townsend client back to 1997.)

DDB will run the business out of its Chicago office. The account director will be Sean McCarthy, a former management director at Draftfcb in Chicago who joined DDB about three months ago.

“It’s a brand that’s rich in history and it has got a clear view of the future,” said DDB worldwide CEO Chuck Brymer. “We’re really excited to be selected.”

The shift came without a review and after about three months of meetings between AT&T and DDB, according to sources. In the past, DDB has handled some b-to-b ad distribution efforts overseas. Also, Brymer has a long-standing relationship with the brand that traces back to his years as CEO of Omnicom’s Interbrand.

“This is part of the company’s efforts to align its resources as one AT&T,” said Scott Perkins, assistant vice president of advertising at AT&T in Dallas. “As part of this consolidation, AT&T will be able to continue to tap into the deep knowledge and history its Rodgers Townsend team has provided to the company while maximizing visibility through DDB’s global strategic and creative resources.”

Some Rodgers Townsend staffers who work on AT&T are expected to migrate to DDB.

Media duties remain at WPP Group’s Mediaedge:cia in New York, which works on both the b-to-b and consumer chores. The lead creative agency for consumer-directed efforts is BBDO in New York and Atlanta.

Major media spending on AT&T’s b-to-b efforts totaled nearly $25 million last year and about $10 million in the first half of 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence.