BellSouth Hears Media Finalists

Long Haymes Carr, Merkley Newman Harty and the team of Initiative Media North America and WestWayne last week pitched BellSouth’s $120 million consolidated media-planning account.
The four shops–LHC, Winston-Salem, N.C.; MNH, New York; WestWayne and Initiative Media, both Atlanta–all have various assignments from the Atlanta-based client. The telco currently uses more than a dozen agencies for above- and below-the-line ad duties.
BellSouth and agency representatives declined to comment.
One regional observer said the strange bedfellow scenario of Interpublic Group of Cos.-owned Initiative Media, aligned with the independent WestWayne against IPG’s LHC, is not as odd as it might seem.
“This now means IPG is backing two horses in a three-horse race,” said Amy Hoover, vice president at Atlanta recruitment firm Talent Zoo. “It also makes a good test run if IPG is thinking of acquiring WestWayne.”
MNH is owned by the New York holding company Omnicom Group.
BellSouth has been consolidating its accounts. MNH topped
WestWayne in a shootout for the client’s corporate branding duties last November, and last week BellSouth pooled its Hispanic corporate branding at Sanchez & Levitan in Miami.