GSD&M advertising & marketing assignments

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GSD&M is a major full-service agency, based in Austin, Texas, and one of the biggest in the US Southwest. GSD&M closed regional offices in Dallas and Houston during the 1980s, but it retains an office in Chicago (in the same building as Energy BBDO), where most media is handled. Advertising Age estimated revenues of $77m in 2019. The agency sits within Omnicom's portfolio of single brand agencies, alongside Goodby Silverstein, Merkley & Partners and others. Although officially a standalone unit, it is increasingly aligned with sister network BBDO. The agency adopted a new name of GSD&M Idea City in 2007 as part of restructuring designed to improve performance. The new title didn't really gain traction and was eventually abandoned in 2011. Although the group continues to serve a number of long-established clients, it has suffered a steady drip effect of account losses for several years from the late 2000s and comparatively few big wins. Until 2012, that is, when it captured the substantial Walgreens pharmacy account. The capture of another major client in the form of Dodge in 2016 was offset by the departure of Walgreens the following year. One of the agency's oldest and biggest clients remains Southwest Airlines, for whom it has worked for more than 30 years, though it now shares the account with sister agency TBWA. According to the oft-repeated company legend, GSD&M was founded by six college kids straight out of the University of Texas in 1971, although only four got their initials into the company name. At least four of the founding partners - Steve Gurasich, Roy Spence, Tim McClure and Judy Tabulsi ("the & in GSD&M") - never worked anywhere else and retained non-executive links to the business. (The "D" was Jim Darilek, who left the agency after only a few years in 1977.) Longtime staffer Duff Stewart has been CEO since 2009. Jay Russell is chief creative officer. Steve Gurasich, arguably the main figurehead of the business for most of its history to-date, died in 2021 at the age of 73.

Capsule checked 9th April 2021

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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 1st Mar 2018: Ads of the Week: "A Man Like You". There's a certain simple honesty to GSD&M's new viral film for ecommerce shavecare specialist Harry's that makes you forgive the slightly corny concept and low-fi execution. While bunking off from school, a troubled teen comes face to face with a humanoid alien and sets about teaching him how to be a man. And the moral of the story is that there are no rules when it comes to being a man. Though of course Harry's would prefer it if you did at least shave on a pretty regular basis. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Sep 2017: Ads of the Week: "Behind Every Seat Is A Story". Here's a lovely new "people first" spot for US airline Southwest from longtime partner GSD&M. In an age when airlines around the globe are being accused of an increasingly negligent attitude towards passengers in their race towards the bottom on pricing, GSD&M reverse the tables. The new campaign focuses on the fact that every passenger has his or her own story to tell, so these ads are about us, not about the airline. It's such an obvious angle that it's incredible no other carrier is already doing this. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 26th May 2016: Omnicom's GSD&M agency scored its biggest account win in years, with the reported capture of Fiat Chrysler's Dodge business in the US, its biggest-spending brand by some margin. The business was previously managed by Wieden & Kennedy. As with all its brands, FCA doesn't appoint an official AOR, but US trade media say GSD&M has been picked for current lead.

Adbrands Weekly Update 28th May 2015: It was a grim week for Omnicom's GSD&M which lost no less than three significant retail accounts. Discounter Marshalls (part of the TJX group) moved its account to Leo Burnett; Petsmart took its creative work inhouse after just seven months with GSD&M; and Ace Hardware confirmed the appointment of Chicago indie OKRP


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