As part of its ongoing 2011 transition/rebirth/renewal/name-shedding, GSD&M is now on the hunt for a new head of talent as sources familiar with the matter confirm that Eric Buchanan has been let go. From what we’ve been told, as part of its transmogrification, GSD&M is looking for the “right person” for what the agency deems a very “critical” position and from the looks of it, Buchanan wasn’t fitting the bill. Sources tell us that the Austin, TX-based shop is actively looking for a replacement. Buchanan had been with GSD&M for 18 months.
It’s been nearly five months since health insurance brand Cigna announced that it was reviewing its advertising account, but now we hear it’s coming down to the home stretch. Sources familiar with the matter confirm to us that one of the agencies duking it out in the pitch is GSD&M, which most recently dropped the “Idea City” part of its name as you know. While Cigna’s projected spending is fairly modest at around $20 million, the Austin-based agency sure could use a boost after a fairly rough end to 2010/start in 2011 in which the brand axed its CCO, resigned BMW and watched its Norwegian Cruise Line account go into play.
According to Adweek, Cigna’s incumbent agency, Omnicom-owned Doremus, was expected to participate when the review was launched. Other agencies involved in the pitch were not disclosed.
After a fairly bumpy last few months, GSD&M appears to be looking for a fresh start, and in doing so, has decided to drop the “Idea City” portion from its name. From what the Austin-based agency tells us, it’s a way to pay tribute to the founders (Roy Spence, Judy Trabulsi, Tim McClure and Steve Gurasich) and a celebration of the GSD&M’s 40th anniversary, which will take place this August.
In a couple of weeks, the agency will also launch GSDM.com to cement the name change. According to the Omnicom-owned shop, president/CEO Duff Stewart and the founders both agreed to the change. The building that houses the agency, meanwhile, will still keep the Idea City sign. It was nearly three-and-a-half years ago that GSD&M officially added Idea City to its name.
Though it just launched a campaign to celebrate its newfound status as the official bank of the NBA, BBVA Compass (15th largest U.S. commercial bank, they say) has run out of money to spend for advertising. As a result, the financial institution’s relationship with GSD&M Idea City has now gone dark. From what we’ve been told, the BBVA account, which Austin-based GSD&M took on in October 2008, is not going into review and it wasn’t “lost” technically. The client simply can’t pony up the money at the moment and there’s no timeframe for when BBVA will be ready to advertise again. Anyhow, you can check out GSD&M’s handiwork for the NBA partnership, which is being handled by BBVA Compass Spain.
It looks like Mike Wilson is having trouble fitting in yet again. Seven months after apparently getting the boot from his EVP/CCO gig at Dentsu, Wilson is now out as CCO at his follow-up employer, GSD&M Idea City. Once again, we’re being told he just “wasn’t the right fit.” Early on in his career, though, Wilson did rack up some tenure at Ogilvy, where he spent over 10 years and eventually assumed the worldwide creative director post until 2006.
After the jump, check out a memo that GSD&M president/CEO Duff Stewart just sent out to staff this afternoon.
To celebrate the season of giving (as well as dropping BMW from their client roster), GSD&M Idea city and its Austin, Texas friends are wishing the nation “Happy Holidays” from the state’s capital.
Idea City’s website features a map of Austin where users can click different points of interest in the city, popping up a video with a smiling well-wisher on location. It’s like being at South by Southwest, only without the vacationing East Coast douchebaggery that the festival draws to its many venues. Take a trip to 6th street, where the live music capital of the world is centered. If music isn’t your thing, head south the Bird’s Barbershop and watch a guy get a Mohawk.
Or, there’s always Texas Memorial Stadium, where Longhorns fans stay ever-vigilant despite the Big 12′s slow deterioration with the departures of Colorado and Nebraska.
Now, it’s easy to make fun of these people are their friendly, sunny dispositions. But, if you’ve ever been to Austin, you know this isn’t just a show for the cameras. The place is full of nice folks dedicated to the arts and keeping Austin weird. BMW truly didn’t belong there.
Sources familiar with the matter have confirmed that GSD&M Idea City let staff know this morning that it will not be renewing its contract with client BMW after it expires on Dec. 31 of this year. From what we’ve been told, Idea City is leaving BMW, thus ending a five-year relationship the Austin-based agency had with the automaker. We’ve gotten hold of an internal memo sent by GSD&M’s president/CEO Duff Stewart that may shed some light on this decision. Read on after the jump.
Sources familiar with the matter have confirmed that GSD&M Idea City is no longer serving as media agency for MasterCard, which has decided to consolidate duties with Universal McCann.
The move ends a 15-year relationship that Austin-based Idea City had with the credit card brand. From what we’re hearing, this was the shop’s largest media account.
Zale Corporation, home to mall staple Zales Jewelers as well as Zales Outlet, Gordon’s and Canada-based Mappins Jewelers and Peoples brands, has awards its creative and media business to GSD&M Idea City. In a statement, Zale CMO Richard Lennox says, “Because of their solid strength in building brands and creating effective messaging, GSD&M Idea City is a great fit for our advertising needs. We look forward to working with their talented team to build momentum around the Zale brands.”
GSD&M Idea City will be responsible for the usual print, online, TV, radio and OOH efforts on the Zale account, which was previously handled by The Richards Group. According to Idea City, there was no review; instead, the agency connected with Zale through a former client. As far as media duties go, GSD&M will be only be handling media in the U.S. while ZenithOptimedia will continue taking care of Canada.
The first creative work for Zale under Idea City’s watch is expected to break in early 2011.
Contrary to tips that claim she was let go, sources tell us that didn’t any happen in any shape or form and Malina is instead just moving to Amsterdam and focusing on family life. We’ve been told that her Kohler and Southwest responsibilities will now be divvied up between SVP/chief strategist David Matathia and Idea City SVP, business development and new ventures Jonathan Silverstein.