Formed in 1971, GSD&M is a public relations firm based in Austin, Texas. From 2007 to 2012, it was known as GSD&M’s Idea City.1GSD&M creates new name, vision,” Chief Marketer, August 28, 2007. Archived May 6, 2023. Archive URL: It established itself with relationships with Southwest Airlines2Jenny Rooney. “Video: GSD&M CEO Duff Stewart On The Role Of Creative Agencies,” Forbes, July 11, 2012. Archive URL: and Walmart, which it represented from 1987 until 2006.3Stuart Elliot. “Why an Agency Said No to Wal-Mart,” The New York Times, December 15, 2006. Archived July 12, 2022. Archive URL: It came up with the famous slogan “Don’t Mess with Texas” in a campaign to reduce littering in the state.4 “Don’t Mess With Texas,” GSD&M. Archived December 20, 2020. Archive URL: It also worked with the American Petroleum Institute intermittently from 1996 until 2022. 

GSD&M is a subsidiary of Omnicom Group Inc., a public relations and advertising conglomerate. In 2022, Omnicom earned $14.28 billion in revenue.5Omnicom Group Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Results,” Omnicom Group, February 7, 2023. Archived February 17, 2023. Archive URL: In 2019, Advertising Age estimated its revenue at $77 million.6GSD&M,”, April 9th, 2021. Archived December 4th, 2022. Archive URL: Omnicom Group does not report revenue for its subsidiaries. 

The founder of Clean Creatives, Duncan Miesel, said in an interview that GSD&M’s work for the American Petroleum Institute inspired him to start a campaign to get young creatives to stop working for fossil fuel clients.7Dan Drollette Jr. “Big advertising to ditch Big Oil?Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, April 22, 2021. Archived April 22, 2021. Archive URL: 

Stance on Climate Change

In 2021, Omnicom Group joined the Science Based Targets initiative in order to measure its carbon emissions and bring its emissions reduction goals in line with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5° Celsius.8Responsibly Relentless: Progress at Scale,” Omnicom Group Corporate Responsibility Report, 2021. Archived April 19, 2023. Archived copy available at DeSmog.

Select GSD&M Clients

Key People

Roy Spence

Spence is a GSD&M cofounder9 “GSD&M creates new name, vision,” Chief Marketer, August 28, 2007. Archived May 6, 2023. Archive URL: and is known for working closely with Sam Walt, the founder of Wal-Mart, and Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines, on advertising campaigns for their companies.10Stuart Elliot. “Why an Agency Said No to Wal-Mart,” The New York Times, December 15, 2006. Archived July 12, 2022. Archive URL: He was an advisor on Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign.11Alexandra Biesada. “The Pitch,” Texas Monthly, March 1998. Archived September 28, 2022. Archive URL: Roy Spence was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2016.12Members: Roy Spence Co-Founder & Chairman; GSD&M,” Advertising Hall of Fame. Archived May 6, 2023. Archive URL:

Duff Stewart

As of July 2023, Duff Stewart was GSD&M’s CEO and president.13Duff Stewart Named President and Chief Executive Officer of GSD&M Idea City,” AAAA, July 21, 2009. Archived May 18, 2023. Archive URL: 14“About,” GSD&M. Archived July 14, 2023. Archive URL:

Eric Knittel

According to his website, Knittel creatively directed and copywrote parts of API’s “Power Past Impossible” campaign.15American Petroleum Institute,” Eric Knittel. Archived May 6, 2023. Archive URL: Under one Power Past Impossible ad which read “Test Your Energy IQ: In the past decade, CO2 emissions from power generation have decreased ___ %: A) 15 B) 7 C) 25 D) 10,” Knittel wrote “To help people understand more about the natural gas and oil industry, and how important it is to their daily lives, we created ‘connected TV’ content that featured our launch spot and a quiz that ‘tested’ a viewer’s NG&O IQ.”16American Petroleum Institute,” Eric Knittel. Archived May 6, 2023. Archive URL: Knittel added: “My role: Question selection, copywriting and creative direction.”

Bill Wine

Wine was an executive producer at GSD&M from 2009 to 2017, according to his LinkedIn.17“Bill Wine,” LinkedIn. Archived July 14, 2023. Archive URL: His professional website also lists freelance work for GSD&M.18“Bill Wine, Senior Producer: About Me,” Bill Wine. Archived May 6, 2023. Archive URL: His website includes work for the American Petroleum Institute’s “Power Past Impossible” campaign.

Carmen Graf

Graf worked at GSD&M from 1991 until 2018. According to Graf’s LinkedIn page, she worked on the American Petroleum Institute account while working for GSD&M.19Carmen Graf,” LinkedIn. Archived May 6, 2023. Archive URL:

Jerry Rios

Rios worked at GSD&M from 2000 until 2018, according to his LinkedIn page. He worked on the American Petroleum Institute account while at GSD&M.20Jerry Rios,” The Holdsworth Center. Archived February 2, 2023. Archive URL:

Pooja Iyer

Iyer provided strategic media planning for American Petroleum Institute account.21Iyer, Pooja,” The University of Texas at Austin Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations. Archived May 6, 2023. Archive URL:

Maggie Saenz

Saenz began her career at GSD&M where she specialized in social media. She worked on the American Petroleum Institute account.22Meet the Team: Maggie Saenz,” Hahn Public. Archived May 6, 2023. Archive URL: ​​

Jacqueline Saliotte

According to Saliotte’s LinkedIn page, she was GSD&M’s account director for the American Petroleum Institute account from 2018 to 2019.23Jacqueline Salliotte,” LinkedIn. Archived May 10, 2023. Archive URL:



GSD&M mimicked progressive groups with its new campaign for the American Petroleum Institute, “Energy for Progress.” The tagline resembled the names of progressive groups like the Center for American Progress and Data for Progress.24Atkin, Emily. “Big Oil’s new climate campaign mimics liberal groups and NASA,”  Heated,  January 29, 2020. Archived December 31, 2021. Archive URL: “How can we find the best climate solutions?” opens one “Energy for Progress” ad created by GSD&M. “Right now, America’s natural gas and oil companies continue to lower emissions worldwide,” answered the ad.25TV Spot,’Climate Solutions’,”, October 21, 2020. Archived November 24, 2020. Archive URL: 


In 2019, GSD&M created advertisements for the American Petroleum Institute discussing greenhouse gas emissions and the oil and gas supply with the tagline “We’re on it.” This tagline is the same as the one NASA used to talk about climate change from 2014 to 2017.26Atkin, Emily. “Big Oil’s new climate campaign mimics liberal groups and NASA,” Heated, January 29, 2020. Archived December 31, 2021. Archive URL:

DeSmog fact-checked this seven-figure ad campaign in 2019. The ads claimed that “Thanks to natural gas, the U.S. is leading the way in reducing emissions,” but DeSmog noted that carbon dioxide emissions rose in 2018. In 2018, emissions even rose from power generation, the sector where natural gas was displacing coal in the U.S. energy portfolio.


“THIS AIN’T YOUR DADDY’S OIL,” opens GSD&M’s ad for the American Petroleum Institute which premiered during Superbowl LI.27“American Petroleum Institute: Power Past,”, February 6, 2017. Archived August 15, 2020. The colorful ad continues on to describe cool things made possible in our petrochemical-based society — while also making the dubious claim that “oil runs cleaner.” This ad and the subsequent digital, TV, radio and print ads were part of a national campaign that ran through 2019 with the tagline “Power Past Impossible.”28Michael Tadeo. “API launches Power Past Impossible campaign during Super Bowl showing natural gas and oil benefit to consumers in everyday life [Press Release],” American Petroleum Institute, February 5th, 2017. Archived February 7, 2017. Archive URL:

The Power Past Impossible campaign included a website,


GSD&M created more ads for the “Energy Tomorrow” campaign for API. “Energy Superstar,” which aired 2,606 times on television, including the Today Show on NBC, took a patriotic angle.29Energy Tomorrow TV Commercial, ‘Energy Superpower’,” iSpot.TV, January 19, 2015. Archived March 17, 2016. Archive URL: “America is now the world’s #1 natural gas producer. And we can soon become #1 in oil. Because hydraulic fracturing technology is safely recovering lots more oil and natural gas. Supporting millions of new jobs, billions in tax revenue and a new century of American energy security. The new energy superpower: it’s red, white and blue.” 


In April 2014, GSD&M launched the “Do You Own an Oil Company?” ad for API’s “Energy Tomorrow” campaign. In 2014, divesting from fossil fuels to protect the environment and signal that future investments in fossil fuels risked catastrophic climate change was gaining momentum.30Fossil fuel divestment: a $5 trillion challenge [White Paper],” Bloomberg New Energy Finance, August 25, 2014. Archived  October 11, 2014. In the ad, which aired on networks including Caught on Camera with MSNBC, an actress asks “Do you own an oil company? Well, if you have a pension, or mutual funds, or other investments, chances are, you do.”31Energy Tomorrow TV Spot, ‘Do You Own An Oil Company?’, April 21, 2014. Archived November 29, 2020. Archive URL: 

Another ad sought to inspire confidence in hydraulic fracturing, which was facing public opposition on environmental grounds.32As U.S. Energy Production Grows, Public Policy Views Show Little Change,” Pew Research Center, December 18, 2014. Archived August 9, 2020. Archive URL: “What connects the dots between new jobs, and cleaner air, a manufacturing renaissance, and energy security? American natural gas,” says an actress.33Energy Tomorrow TV Commercial, ‘Connecting the Dots’,”, January 20, 2014.  Archived May 15, 2015. Archive URL: This ad aired 2,413 times on TV from January to June 2014.


In 2012, iSpot TV listed GSD&M as the agency that created ads for the American Petroleum Institute’s “Energy Tomorrow” campaign. GSD&M was not listed as one of the five most compensated independent contractors by the American Petroleum Institute (API) on its 2012 Form 990; API’s fifth highest paid independent contractor listed in 2012 was paid over $5 million.34Form 990 for the period ending December 2012: American Petroleum Institute,” ProPublica. Archived copy available at DeSmog. 

In one “Energy Tomorrow” ad from 2012 created by GSD&M, an actress says “Just look down, deep underground. That’s where America’s safely recovering more than a century’s worth of clean natural gas.”35American Petroleum Institute Natural Gas TV Spot, ‘Look Down‘,” iSpot.TV, November 8th, 2012. Archived October 7, 2020. Archive URL: The ad directed viewers to The ad played 583 times on TV networks including FOX and NBC’s Meet the Press.36American Petroleum Institute Natural Gas TV Spot, ‘Look Down’,” iSpot.TV, November 8th, 2012. Archived December 12, 2013. Archive URL:


GSD&M launched the public service announcement campaign “Save Energy, Save Money” with the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Energy.37New PSAs: Save Energy, Save Money,” Ad Age, July 20, 2011. Archived December 5, 2011. Archived copy available at DeSmog. The campaign reminded consumers they could save both energy and money by using energy efficient appliances and sealing leaks in their homes. GSD&M created TV, radio, outdoor and internet ads for the campaign.


During a competitive review of Wal-Mart’s advertising agency, GSD&M wrote “Wal-Mart: Positioning Report” after interviewing consumers and taking them shopping at Wal-Mart.38Ad agency said Wal-Mart needs better image,”Associated Press, May 30, 2007. Archived February 26, 2022. Archive URL: GSD&M later declined to be part of a second round of the creative review and gave up its 19 year relationship with Wal-Mart. The report was leaked to the press and created a stir for GSD&M’s analysis that Wal-Mart’s reputation in the media was of a “bad corporate citizen who doesn’t treat employees well and isn’t acting as a good citizen of the planet.”


GSD&M launched a five-year, $100 million campaign for the Steel Alliance, in part to assert that steel is a clean industry.39Anthony Todd Carlisle. “Steel industry  reinforces its image with national advertising campaign,” Pittsburgh Business Times, May 9, 1997. Archived November 13, 2002. Archive URL: The national campaign featured television and print ads and a website.40Hotline: GSD&M to Unveil Steel Alliance Advertising,” Adweek, May 5, 1997. Archived December 11, 2018. Archive URL:

GSD&M wins API, IPAA account.41GSD&M WINS ACCOUNT FOR OIL INDUSTRY’S IMAGE,Ad Age, September 9, 1996. Archived May 6, 2023. Archive URL: This campaign was estimated to be worth more than $50 million.

Omnicom Group – Parent Organization

Contact & Address

828 W. 6th St.

Austin, TX 78703

(512) 242 – 4736

Chicago office

225 N. Michigan Ave., 8th Floor

Chicago, IL 60601

Old Website: www.Ideacity.com42Duff Stewart Named President and Chief Executive Officer of GSD&M Idea City,” AAAA, July 21, 2009. Archived May 18, 2023. Archive URL:

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