Focus Is Back in Telecom Game

Gains Account of Group Buying GTE’s Texas, N.M. Operations
DALLAS–The Focus Agency’s first assignment for its new telecommunications client will be a big one: name the company.
The new company was formed last month by GTE’s $1.4 billion sale of one-sixth of its local phone operations in Texas and all of New Mexico to a group of investors.
That investor group, currently operating under the name dba communications, tapped Irving, Texas-based Focus to handle wide-ranging duties, from developing an initial corporate identity to brand development and advertising.
“We’re excited about it, it’s a big deal,” said Mike Sullivan, Focus’ recently appointed executive vice president and managing director. “The budget has not been disclosed, but obviously to compete at the level they intend to compete at it will be significant.”
Dba’s purchase makes it the second-largest telecommunications provider in New Mexico and No. 4 in Texas. The company is in a “heavy acquisition mode,” according to a dba statement, and will begin aggressive consumer and small business marketing in six to nine months.
Currently headquartered in Washington, D.C., the telecommunications company is seeking a permanent headquarters somewhere in the Southwest.
A formal review was not held for the account, according to Sullivan, although three to four other agencies presented their capabilities and were considered by the client.
“It was kind of an under-the-radar deal,” Sullivan said. “They settled on us because of our past work in the industry and our unique approach to customer-acquisition marketing.”
In fact, Focus, a member of the Omnicom network, was the dedicated agency of GTE for four years. It did not serve any other clients until the business moved to Temerlin McClain in Irving, Texas.
“Since then the floodgates have been opened and the shop is aggressively pursuing new business, particularly in the last few months,” Sullivan said.
With this new telecom client, Focus will find itself trying to reach the same consumer base that it advertised to as GTE’s agency.
A $44 million operation, Focus expects the new account to become one of its largest, potentially surpassing spending by another major client, Shell Energy, a provider of electrical and gas power.