It Wasn’t All Fun and Games

Midway Home Entertainment Pulls $25 Mil. Account From DDB
DALLAS–Coinciding with the move of its marketing operations from Corsicana, Texas, to San Diego, Midway Home Entertainment has pulled its $25 million account from DDB Dallas.
The client is expected to reassign advertising duties to a West Coast agency. Sources last week said that shop was likely to be Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco.
Neither Midway nor Goodby officials were available to comment at press time.
DDB Dallas chief executive officer Jake Schroepfer said no agency layoffs were imminent as a result of the account loss. “But we hate to see them go,” he said.
Although geography may have prompted the company to leave its Dallas agency, a strained relationship also may have been partly responsible, according to industry sources who labeled Midway a difficult client.
“They were limiting production budgets, insisting on using game footage in the ads,” one observer said. If Midway was not happy with DDB’s creative, “it may have been that [the agency was] backed into a corner by the client. And now they think they’re just going to walk up to Goodby and jump right in.”
DDB Dallas has provided full-service marketing communications to Midway since July 1997, making it the company’s longest-serving agency of record. In its nearly three years of service, DDB coordinated and promoted the release of more than 40 video game titles, including best-sellers such as Mortal Kombat, NFL Blitz, Rampage, NBA Jams and Gauntlet.
McCann-Erickson Southwest held the account prior to DDB.
DDB will continue to service the Midway business through May 2000, when all account personnel will be reassigned to other clients. DDB’s major accounts include Arizona Jeans, Dr Pepper and Footaction USA.
Midway Home Entertainment is the consumer division of Midway Games, maker of home video games for Nintendo, Sony and Sega platforms, as well as for PCs. Its Atari Games subsidiary makes arcade games. Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone owns 25 percent of Midway Games. The advertising account for the parent company is held by Jordan Tamraz Caruso Advertising in Chicago.
Midway had 1999 sales of $351 million, a 10 percent gain over 1998, per Hoover’s Online.