PictureTel Follows Martins to BBL

Videoconferencing Firm to Boost Ad Budget Despite Sliding Profits
BOSTON-BBL Advertising has taken a significant step toward establishing itself as a high-tech force, defeating two better-known shops for the account of videoconferencing firm PictureTel Corp.
The Acton, Mass., agency last week overcame Publicis Technology, San Francisco, and TFA/Leo Burnett Technology Group, Boston, in the final round of a review.
BBL’s addition in March of creative director Fred Martins appears to have sealed the deal. A PictureTel official praised Martins’ creative ideas and said his presence at BBL helped the shop land the account.
Martins had for eight years helmed the creative department of Harpell/Martins & Co. in Maynard, Mass., where he worked on the PictureTel business. The client and agency parted ways earlier this year, shortly after Martins left the shop.
His relationship with PictureTel notwithstanding, Martins said “the strength of the whole team” at BBL helped the agency win the account.
PictureTel has spent $2-3 million on advertising in recent years, but BBL president Barbara Sabran said the budget is being upped to $5 million.
Sabran, who founded the agency nearly 10 years ago, said winning PictureTel is significant because the shop upended established competitors for the assignment.
BBL is charged with developing corporate and trade executions to boost PictureTel’s reputation in the global business marketplace among chief executives and information technology professionals. PictureTel, partly owned by Intel Corp., has long been ranked No. 1 among videoconferencing firms but last year suffered a $56 million loss.
The Andover, Mass.-based client becomes one of the largest accounts handled by 35-person BBL, which has enjoyed a growth spurt in recent months. The agency has picked up assignments from Alpha Processor and Chrysalis Symbolic Design and added several staffers [Adweek, March 22].
BBL will create and place a print-based campaign in the business and trade press in the U.S. and abroad, with the shop’s recently opened two-person London office spearheading efforts in Europe, Sabran said. The ads will break this summer, she said. ƒ