FGI Brings Its Tech Savvy To Sybase Race

By David Gianatasio

BOSTON–A half dozen agencies with high-tech expertise have been named semifinalists in the review for the creative portion of Sybase’s $12-15 million advertising account, including one Southeast contender.

In the hunt are FGI of Chapel Hill, N.C.; FCB Technology in San Francisco; Allen & Gerritsen of Watertown, Mass.; and Cohn Godley Norwood; Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos; and Ingalls, Quinn & Johnson, all in Boston. The client parted ways with incumbent Euro RSCG Dahlin Smith White in Salt Lake City last month.

Freeman Associates in Wellesley, Mass., handles media planning and buying, which are not included in the current review.

Pile and Co. in Boston is overseeing the review process.

The list of semifinalists will be cut following capabilities presentations this week, sources said. Emeryville, Calif.-based Sybase has said it intends to name a new shop by May.

The review was launched primarily because of personnel changes at Sybase. Former senior vice president of marketing John Capobianco recently announced his departure, leaving Mindi Butterfield, who is vice president of corporate and product marketing, in charge of all promotional and advertising functions.

Butterfield is a veteran of Burlington, Mass.-based Powersoft Corp., which Sybase bought last year. Butterfield had worked with Powersoft agency Mullen in Wenham, Mass., prior to the buyout and never warmed to Sybase shop Dahlin Smith White, sources said. She reportedly wanted a new shop in place–preferably on the East Coast.

The inability of DSW’s print campaigns to boost Sybase’s sagging fortunes against Oracle and Informix in the database software wars made the review inevitable, sources said. All of the shops now pitching have considerable technology expertise, including FGI, which handles American Mobile Satellite Corp., Haht Software and Medic Computer Systems.

–with Katy Eckmann

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