FCB and AT&T Business Part Ways

NEW YORK — Foote, Cone & Belding and AT&T Business are parting ways, the agency confirmed. The agency’s contract with the Basking Ridge, N.J.-based client expires on Dec. 31, and sources said the client was not going to renew it. FCB executives said they resigned the account today.”We certainly value the AT&T relationship,” said Jeff Tarakajian, president of FCB New York. “But it’s too small an account in too large a category for people here who have so much experience in that category.”When FCB won the account after a review a little over one year ago, its billings were said to be $100 million. Sources said the account will shrink in scope to under $20 million for 2002. Other sources said it would be $30-40 million. FCB executives declined to comment on the projected 2002 billings. Sources said AT&T Business could move to Young & Rubicam, which won the remaining $35 million piece of the consumer account from FCB New York in a consolidation in October. Another source said that because the Business account is becoming so much smaller, it could shift to Schifino Lee in Tampa, Fla., which has done below-the-line advertising for the client for at least a year. But, said client representative Walt Gasior, “We don’t plan to replace FCB for the AT&T Business account. As the need arises AT&T will work with other agencies on a project basis. Agency project assignments will be decided on a case by case basis.”He declined comment on billings and whether they would increase or decrease.Y&R and Schifino Lee executives could not immediately be reached.FCB broke a new print campaing in October for AT&T Business tagged “Return on communications.”Earlier this year, FCB New York took over the defense of the $400 million AT&T Wireless account, which had been handled by its San Francisco office. Ogilvy & Mather won the business.