Venables, Bell Scores a Pair of New Accounts

Venables, Bell & Partners continued its streak of new-business wins by reeling in HBO Home Video and Bell Automotive Products, two former Goodby, Silverstein & Partners clients.

Billings were not released, but sources said the two new clients are worth roughly $10 million, with the lion’s share coming from HBO.

The cable network’s video arm has asked Venables to design advertising centered around the video and DVD releases of such popular shows as The Sopranos and Sex in the City. The shop’s initial assignment is to create a campaign for the video and DVD release of the first season of Oz, a prison drama.

Agency creative director Paul Venables said he was excited to break into the entertainment category.

“HBO is the elite in quality programming,” he said. “We’re stoked.”

The relationship was renewed when Venables received a call from old friend Sofia Chang, who knew him from a stint in Pacific Bell/SBC’s advertising department. After she joined HBO in New York, Chang met with agency partner Greg Bell, and the deal was sealed.

“They are extremely talented and have always delivered advertising that works,” said Chang, marketing director at HBO Home Video, which had done its ads in-house. “They take products, like phone books and caller ID, and make them interesting. They have a great range.”

Venables and Bell first established ties to Bell Automotive, a manufacturer of motorcycle helmets, when the duo both worked at Goodby. Once viewed as the creative heirs to Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein, Venables and Bell left Goodby last May to open their shop.

Venables attributed the wins to strong relationships with former clients, like Chang.

“[Our success] has restored my faith in the ad process,” he said. “If you do good work and the client remembers you, they will ask for more.”

Ramping up to 19 staffers, Venables, Bell is finalizing agreements with online music service Napster and Barclays Global Investors. Its other client is Microsoft’s $50 million UltimateTV.