WongDoody Expands Into Dallas

WongDoody has enter-ed the Dallas market through a strategic alliance with the small creative shop Gilliatt/Paris.

Seattle-based WongDoody, which has a Los Angeles office and $75 million in billings, has considered expanding its brand into client-rich Dallas for years, said chairman and creative director Tracy Wong.

Wong said partnering with the six-person shop was the easiest way to enter the new market. “We felt we needed to align ourselves with someone who knew the market and philosophically had the same point of view,” he said.

For Gilliatt/Paris in Dallas, which claims $2 million in billings, the partnership brings additional capabilities including public relations, account planning and production. “When we received medium[-size clients’] RFPs, it became obvious we were a smaller group doing big work and we couldn’t get past that hurdle,” said G/P co-founder Doug Gilliatt. “Our mind-set is to grow the agency.”

The new entity, which is now called WongDoody Dallas, is positioning itself as “a good creative shop that can provide the services a big agency can without the bureaucracy,” Wong said.

No money was exchanged in creating the partnership, Wong said.

The goal is to make the office as self-sufficient as possible, said Chuck Paris, who shares managing partner responsibilities with Gilliatt. Nonetheless, Wong and other West Coast-based staff members will assist in pitching new business. Wong will also oversee all creative work produced by the Dallas office.

In addition, the Dallas operation may work on projects with other WongDoody offices, Wong said, when the need arises.

Though the new partners emphasize their ideological similarities, the agencies have operated differently. Accounts of WongDoody, which opened in 1993, include Alaska Airlines, T-Mobile and Clif Bar.

G/P, which was formed in 1996, has subsisted largely through project work from clients like Blockbuster and GTE/Verizon.

The Dallas partners approached Wong, whom they had never met, earlier this year about an alliance. “We decided to move forward into more of a traditional agency model,” Paris said, “and we knew we wanted to align ourselves with someone outside the market to bring in something fresh.”