$100 Mil. Alltel Account Travels to C-E

CHICAGO Alltel has awarded creative chores on its ad account to Interpublic Group’s Campbell-Ewald, the agency has confirmed. That work had been with Omnicom Group’s DDB in Chicago.

Along with Warren, Mich.-based C-E, the Little Rock, Ark.-based telecommunications company was also believed to be talking with independent agency The Richards Group in Dallas and IPG’s The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va. (Martin handles media for the company.)

“With its customers first culture and services, we are tremendously excited about helping Alltel carve out an even more distinct and successful market position,” said C-E president Jeff Scott in a statement.

DDB had held the business for a little over a year, winning it after a review in April 2003. The client provides telecommunications services to about 12 million customers in 26 states.

The client began calling agencies in early September shortly after its new marketing chief, Frank O’Mara, gave DDB an assignment to come up with a new campaign, sources said. O’Mara has been with the company since 1997, and had most recently been vice president of customer service.

DDB has emphasized Alltel’s reliability and service since the shop’s first work, tagged “Alltel, you got that right,” broke in May 2003. The agency launched work last month contrasting Alltel’s customer service with the way other companies handle complaints.

Alltel spent about $100 million on ads in 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.