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Together they oversee nearly $1 billion in advertising billings and employ about 770 people. The chief executives of the city's eight largest advertising firms (according to Atlanta Business Chronicle's 1996 Book of Lists), Larry, Tolpin, Knox Massey Jr., Jeff White, Clisby Clarke, Neill Cameron, Jeff Nixon, Dave Fitzgerald and Frank Compton, talked about their business, the Atlanta advertising community and the future of their industry during the first of three advertising roundtables sponsored by Atlanta Business Chronicle.
The home team plays better on the road.
That's the message CEOs of the city's largest agencies offered during a recent roundtable designed to address issues impacting their industry.
Flashback to March 1997. All the big accounts are leaving Atlanta.
It was the buzz of the city's advertising community when Delta Air Lines sent 51-year incumbent agency BBDO scrambling to salvage the airline's estimated $70 million business. Other major Atlanta-based firms such as BellSouth Corp. and The Home Depot Inc. had taken their business outside the city in recent years.
But big accounts are coming to Atlanta, generating millions in billings and providing the city with substantial economic impact.
In the end BBDO - and Atlanta - walked away from the business. And the firm endures, in part because, as chief executive officer Larry Tolpin says, "In Denver, we're golden." And not just Denver. BBDO has more than $200 million in billings coming into Atlanta from outside this market, according to Tolpin. And 60 percent of its new business prospects are outside Atlanta.
"All the agencies here [at the round-table discussion] like to think of …