Grey’s San Francisco Office Scores CellNet Data Systems Business

By Joan Voight

SAN FRANCISCO–The managing director of Grey Advertising’s San Francisco office, Don Dorward, racked up his new first client for the shop.

The San Francisco office has landed creative and media duties for CellNet Data Systems’ business-to-business account without a review. Billings are undisclosed but industry estimates peg them at about $3-5 million.

‘This award demonstrates Grey’s renewed commitment to the San Francisco office,’ Dorward said. The shop approached the client about its new ad account and convinced the company to hire Grey and forgo an agency search, he said.

Since Grey’s San Francisco office has limited experience with technology-oriented and business-to-business clients, ‘we had to sell them on our people, rather than on the accounts we’ve handled,’ he said.

Following Dorward’s hire late last year, the agency has been trying to build its technology capabilities.

Dorward expects the agency will get involved in pitches for more technical types of accounts than it has in the past, he said.

‘This is the first of several announcements (about new business) expected in the near future,’ he explained.

The shop is charged with creating a national print campaign for CellNet aimed at senior managers at public utilities. The work is slated to run in business and trade publications.

The San Carlos, Calif.-based company markets a wireless communication network that essentially replaces human meter readers. Information from meters can be directly reported to utility companies using CellNet’s equipment and transmission service. Once the CellNet network is installed, it can be used for other applications, including reading information from vending machines, security systems, parking meters and traffic signals, according to the company.

CellNet is a leader among wireless companies seeking contracts to automate utility meters. So far it has signed agreements with five major utility companies. CellNet’s competitors include technology giants such as IBM, Motorola and Lucent Technologies.

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