Omnicom Forms Javelin Direct for SBC

DALLAS The new agency created by Omnicom Group to handle SBC Communications’ direct marketing duties will be called Javelin Direct, an agency representative said.

The shop will officially open Jan. 1 with an estimated $100 million in SBC billings. Its headquarters will be located in the same Irving, Texas, building as other Omnicom siblings, including Targetbase, another direct marketing agency.

The holding company is creating Javelin to avoid a potential conflict that arose this summer when SBC struck a joint venture with EchoStar, a competitor of Rapp Collins client DirecTV.

Greg Banks, who comes over from Irving-based Rapp, will serve as Javelin’s managing director, and will report to Tom Harrison, chairman and CEO of Omnicom’s Diversified Agency Services unit. Sources estimate about 80 employees will join the new shop, which will operate separately from Rapp and will initially handle only SBC work.

Buz Price, Javelin’s new vice president of operations, said in deciding the new name of the company, “the idea of a directed object is very intentional.”

SBC is one of Omnicom’s four largest U.S. advertising accounts, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. The client spent $720 million on media last year and employs the services of Omnicom’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas, as well as Merkley Newman Harty & Partners in New York and BBDO in New York and Atlanta. Independent Rodgers/Townsend in St. Louis handles some SBC business.