What Now For Griffin Bacal?

Despite losing an estimated $60 million in billings in Hasbro’s recent consolidations of its toys and games accounts, Griffin Bacal will remain an independently operating unit of DDB Worldwide, said agency CEO and co-chairman Tom Griffin.

There are no plans to lay off any of GBI’s 80 staffers or to fold the shop into parent company DDB, he added.

“We have a lot of kids’ marketing expertise,” Griffin said. “That will continue to grow and expand with our other clients.”

In 1978, Griffin and chief creative officer Joe Bacal opened GBI with Hasbro as its first client. By 1994, when DDB bought the agency, its creative work on G.I. Joe, My Little Pony and Transformers had shaped GBI’s reputation as one of the leading shops for toy and game advertising.

Two weeks ago, Hasbro consolidated its toy business at DDB, and last week narrowed the list of contenders for its games business to roster shops Grey Worldwide and Jordan McGrath Case & Partners Euro RSCG, raising questions about GBI’s fate.

Griffin, 62, said neither he nor Bacal, 65, plan to retire, and they have not discussed with DDB officials the possibility of being folded into the larger entity. A DDB representative said, “We are firmly committed to their business and their clients.”

Griffin noted that GBI will retain the estimated $20 million Hasbro Interactive business, which includes brands such as Atari games, Tonka Workshop, Frogger 2, Scrabble and Risk. Officials at the Pawtucket, R.I.-based client could not be reached for comment on the interactive business.

GBI’s other clients, such as Mott’s, Sharp Electronics, Golden Books Entertainment, and business under its Kid Think, LiveWire, Digital Station and Trendwalk divisions, account for the shop’s current total billings of about $60 million, said president Paul Kurnit.