DDB Fired by Qwest Four Months After Appointment

12 August 2002

US telecoms giant Qwest Communications has confirmed it last week switched its estimated $100 million (€102.7m; £65.6m) ad account from DDB Worldwide, only four months after the shop was appointed.

Picking up the duties is Foote Cone & Belding Worldwide in New York, the second-placed agency behind DDB in April’s review.

The reason for the sudden switch remains unclear. A report in the Chicago Tribune hinted that DDB was fired over comments it made to media outlets about the financial security of Qwest, whose accounts are currently being investigated. The client has been forced to restate financial figures for the past few years and last week posted a loss of $1.1 billion.

However, Qwest claimed ignorance of such matters, giving a far less interesting explanation: “This change makes sense in that the company is taking a much more customer-focused, benefits-driven approach to advertising,” insisted a spokeswoman. “We did a comprehensive review in April and we were well aware of FCB’s qualifications and capabilities.”

Data sourced from: AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff