Sybase Weighs 6 Shops to Tout Software As It Faces Competition From Database Rivals

By David Gianatasio

BOSTON–A half dozen agencies with high-tech expertise have been named semifinalists in the review for the creative portion of Sybase’s $12-15 million advertising account.

The contenders are Cohn Godley Norwood, Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos and Ingalls, Quinn & Johnson, all in Boston; Allen & Gerritsen of Watertown, Mass.; FGI of Chapel Hill, N.C.; and Foote, Cone & Belding’s San Francisco office.

The client parted ways with Euro RSCG Dahlin Smith White in Salt Lake City last month.

Freeman Associates in Wellesley, Mass., handles media planning and buying duties, which are not included in the current review.

Pile and Co., a management consulting firm in Boston, is overseeing the review process.

The list will be cut to a group of finalists following capabilities presentations later this month. Emeryville, Calif.-based Sybase intends to name a new agency by May, the company has said.

The review was launched primarily because of changes within Sybase’s marketing ranks. Former senior vice president of marketing John Capobianco recently announced his intention to leave. Vice president of corporate and product marketing Mindi Butterfield is now in charge of all promotional and advertising functions.

Butterfield is a former employee of Burlington, Mass.-based Powersoft, a company Sybase purchased last year. She had worked with Powersoft agency Mullen in Wenham, Mass., prior to the buyout and never took to Sybase agency Dahlin Smith White, sources said.

Butterfield wanted to select a new shop–preferably an East Coast agency, sources said.

The inability of Dahlin Smith White’s print campaigns to boost Sybase’s sagging fortunes in the database software wars against Oracle Corp. and Informix made the review inevitable, sources said.

All of the shops now pitching the account have considerable technology marketing expertise.

Hill, Holliday handles NEC business and has worked for software giant Lotus Development Corp. FCB’s experience includes working for Adobe, Netcom and Hewlett-Packard. Ingalls’ high-tech clients include FTP Software.

–with Katy Eckmann

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