SBC Puts $60 Mil. Media Business in Review

SBC Communications is reviewing its estimated $60 million media buying account, having grown dissatisfied with the performance of D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in St. Louis, sources said.
DMB&B in June maintained a media unit in St. Louis exclusively for SBC and its Southwestern Bell division after the agency moved all other media operations to New York and Los Angeles. The head of the St. Louis unit, Wendy Marquardt, left this summer to join Zenith Media in New York. “There was general dissatisfaction, with people always coming and going,” one source said. DMB&B is expected to defend the business. Agency and client executives declined comment.
GSD&M in Austin, Texas, which handles wireless communications advertising for SBC, is likely to participate, said sources.
Both DMB&B and GSD&M have benefitted from SBC’s acquisition of Pacific Telesis. DMB&B is believed to have gained Pacific Bell’s products and services account, while GSD&M was recently awarded its Yellow Pages advertising. GSD&M handles creative and media planning chores on its accounts, while DMB&B also buys media.
The media package could become much larger as SBC is likely to consolidate the $50 million Pac Bell media account at the winner of the current review, sources said. The incumbent is TBS Media Management, New York.
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which handles creative on Pac Bell’s long-distance account, declined comment. –with Steve Krajewski