GSD&M Uses Testimonials in New Schwab Work

NEW YORK—GSD&M’s latest work for Charles Schwab tries to lure stung investors off the sidelines of the stock market with a television and print campaign breaking today featuring customer testimonials. The brokerage’s last campaign from GSD&M in Austin, Texas, caused some controversy for making thinly veiled jabs at rival firms, especially Merrill Lynch, whose analysts allegedly slapped “buy” ratings on stocks they knew were failing. One new spot features a montage of customers bemoaning the treatment from their former brokers as an acoustic guitar track plays in the background. “My old broker, unless I called him, he would never call me,” says one 50-ish man. Schwab hopes the campaign will convince at least some reluctant investors to take a second look at the market, said client chief marketing officer Jody Bilney. Spending is estimated at $15 million.

Helzberg Rings Doner for Account Over Richards

CHICAGO—Helzberg Diamonds shifted its $10 million account to Doner following a review that was started because of the weakened finances of incumbent Earle Palmer Brown, a client executive said. Besides the Southfield, Mich.-based winner, participants in the Kansas City, Mo., company’s review included The Richards Group, Dallas, and Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis.

Bates Closes Irvine Office Following Hyundai Loss

LOS ANGELES—Bates USA West has shuttered operations, sources said. The Irvine, Calif., office, which a year ago had $275 million in billings and roughly 150 employees, closed Oct. 18 with 20 staffers and no clients, sources said. Representatives of Bates did not return calls. The decision to close the location follows the loss of the Cordiant-owned shop’s largest account, Hyundai Motor America, which spent $330 million on corporate and dealer ads through Bates’ various offices. The Richards Group, Dallas, picked up the creative portion of that business earlier this year.

Richardson and The Group Merge Operations

DALLAS—Richardson Advertising and The Group have merged to form a new agency called RD&F Advertising. Richardson, a creative firm, and The Group, which offers media and account-service capabilities, have worked together as a strategic partnership for about a year. Clients of the five-person operation include Soho Food & Jazz and RedMoon Broadband. The Addison, Texas, shop also handles project assignments for Just AddWater and Verizon.

Ground Zero Introduces Waterpik Massager

LOS ANGELES—To launch its first handheld massager, Waterpik Technologies is breaking television work on Nov. 4 that illustrates the possible effect of a stressful day. Created by Ground Zero in Marina del Rey, Calif., the “Stress Ball” commercial promotes the new AccuReach Massager. A contortionist plays Gilson, a man who is tied up in knots after being reprimanded by his boss. Gilson remedies this by using the massager to work out the kinks as a voiceover says, “Ah, a massage. That’s better.” The ad was produced in 60-, 30- and 15-second versions.