Agency Beat: TBC Direct Wins $20M Yellow Book USA Account

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Yellow Book USA Inc., the leading publisher of Yellow Pages apart from telephone companies, has named TBC Direct to handle its $20 million account.


A dozen agencies were considered for the business, though executives at Yellow Book USA, Rockville Centre, NY, met with only seven shops. Advertising was previously handled inhouse.


"The brief is to take that value that we're creating for advertisers and consumers and turn it into a campaign that will drive usage," said Gordon Henry, vice president of marketing at Yellow Book USA, who is based in King of Prussia, PA.


TBC, Baltimore, is charged with creative, media planning and buying, direct marketing, public relations and interactive. While direct marketing has not been the top priority so far, that will change as it steps up efforts to target advertisers better.


The win adds to TBC Direct's roster of clients, which includes Dow Jones & Co. and The Wall Street Journal Online, Destination Hershey, Singapore Tourism Board, Baltimore Orioles, Foxwoods Resort Casino and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Annualized billings are $135 million.


Founded in 1930, Yellow Book USA produces directories in 300 markets, mostly east of the Mississippi. The firm recently expanded into the West with the purchase of several directories in Louisiana.


"Yellow Book has not done a lot of direct marketing, and it's an area that we're going to do much more of, so it's going to be a substantial increase over what we've been doing," said Maria Mitchell, assistant vice president of marketing at Yellow Book USA.


Yellow Book USA typically invests heavily in radio, followed by out-of-home media, print advertisements and direct marketing.


Mitchell said it was premature to delineate the exact spend on direct, as the strategy and tactics were still being hammered out.


For its part, TBC will recommend a higher profile for direct marketing.


"It's probably played more of a secondary role in the past, and we're probably going to be looking to fully integrate it into all their communications at this point," said Tom Burden, president of TBC Direct.


"In the past they did an awful lot of brand building," Burden said. "Now it's going to be more of direct, business-to-business and business-to-consumer."


BCom3 Invests in London Start-Up


BCom3 Inc., a Chicago-based advertising agency holding company, has bought an unspecified interest in Spring Communications, a London start-up shop for interactive digital television marketing services. Spring will operate as BCom3's center of excellence for interactive digital television. It will not only service existing BCom3 clients but also prospect for new business. BCom3 is parent to agencies like Leo Burnett Worldwide, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Starcom MediaVest Group.


MyGarb Picks DirectNet


Custom T-shirt maker, MyGarb Inc., Delaware, has named DirectNet Advertising.net Inc., St. Petersburg, FL, to handle performance-based online marketing. The agency will identify themes for future T-shirts and shoulder creative and distribution responsibilities for e-mail and online marketing campaigns. Responses to each campaign will help DirectNet advise of the timing for new theme launches for MyGarb.


Kelley Habib John Launches CRM Unit


Kelley Habib John Integrated Marketing, Boston, has debuted its new Customer Relationship Management Consulting Group division. The new practice area is in line with Kelley Habib John's model of advertising agency plus consulting firm. The CRM group will analyze clients' customer information and practices for improving customer relationships. The agency posted billings last year of $64 million.


Chicago Executive Program Names CFM


The Chicago Executive Program has named CFM Direct, Oakbrook Terrace, IL, as its direct marketing agency. CFM will promote the organization's 2002 advanced leadership and strategy program. Tactics planned include direct mail and telephone invitations to build participation for the learning series.


Thinktank Acquires Lightfall Interactive


In yet another agency consolidation, this time in Chicago, marketing services firm thinktank has bought Lightfall Interactive, which styles itself as an e-business solutions company. The move is expected to boost thinktank's offerings in the online and offline areas. Clients of thinktank include the American Bar Association, Service Merchandise, Motorola, Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs and Children's Memorial Hospital.


WebCriteria Picks MacKenzie Kesselring


WebCriteria, Portland, OR, has named MacKenzie Kesselring Inc. as its public relations agency. The Portland, OR, agency will help position WebCriteria as a key player in the Web site change management area. WebCriteria offers automated site assessment technologies and consulting. Using these solutions, companies can establish an ongoing site improvement program that identifies, recommends and measures Web site changes.


IBM Chooses Outrider for Interactive Work


IBM Corp. has named Outrider, a London and Farmington, CT, interactive agency for the Outrider global search engine optimization offering. The agency will help IBM develop a companywide approach to boosting traffic to ibm.com from all over the world.


A Team Expands to California


The A Team, a marketing and promotions agency in New York, is expanding to the West Coast. The shop has opened The A Team West office in Laguna Beach, CA. With this move, The A Team will be closer to one of its major clients, Jaguar Cars. Founded three years ago, The A Team's client roster also includes Weight Watchers, Eight O'Clock and Banfi Vintners.


Participate.com Hires Slack Barshinger


Software maker Participate.com, Chicago, has named Slack Barshinger as its advertising agency. The agency will handle print advertisements and direct mail to promote Participate.com's line of enterprise software and community management services for sales staffs. The 4-year-old Participate.com has clients like Microsoft Corp., SAP, Cisco Systems, Ace Hardware and IBM Corp.


98 to Handle Flutie Foundation


The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism Inc., Framingham, MA, has named Red98 as its first agency of record. The Boston interactive agency will work on combining the foundation's sites for the organization itself and Doug Flutie's career under a single brand, dougflutiejrfoundation.org. The San Diego Chargers quarterback established the foundation in 1998 after his son Doug Flutie Jr. was diagnosed with autism at age 3. The new site will focus on the concept of teamwork and boost the foundation's profile.


Princess Marketing Debuts Photo Library


Princess Marketing LLC, which is launching an online library of people-only stock photography, has named The Pollack PR Marketing Group, Century City, CA, to handle marketing and public relations. Pollack will seek to differentiate Princess's photo library from that of its competitors.


Catalano Lellos to Promote Porsche SUV


Porsche Cars North America, Atlanta, has named Catalano Lellos & Silverstein, New York, to handle interactive media strategy, planning and buying. The first assignment kicks off with the Cayenne, the German-owned Porsche's sports utility vehicle that launches in mid-2002. Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, is the ad agency on the account. Stoll & Fischbach, Herrenberg in Germany is the worldwide creative agency of record.


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