Ex-Bozell GCD Forms Startup

Rich Levy, the Bozell gcd let go last July after he proposed to client Verizon Wireless that it move its account to another agency, has resurfaced. He is opening his own shop with a former colleague from Ketchum Advertising, Jim Tenny.

Called LevyTenny, the New York startup hopes to follow the lead of boutiques that have encroached on larger agencies’ accounts. Its plan is to pursue $5-10 million pieces of business that have been neglected by big shops.

“Do we expect to take big business away from large agencies? No,” said Tenny, 48, the shop’s president, who met Levy nearly a dozen years ago at Ketchum in New York. “But we do want to make them nervous.”

Among the boutiques that won por tions of large accounts last year were McGarry Bowen, which landed Verizon Communications’ corporate ad duties from Interpublic Group’s Lowe; Boat house, which snagged a national TV assignment from Merrill Lynch, whose lead agency is WPP Group’s J. Walter Thompson; and The Acme Idea Co., which nabbed Gil lette’s Duracell bus iness from Omnicom’s BBDO.

LevyTenny has yet to win its first piece of business and it launches in a still-struggling ad economy. It does have financial backing from Jerry Della Femina and Michael Jeary, chairman and president of Della Fem ina Rothschild Jeary and Partners, respec tive ly.

Della Femina said he was im pressed with Levy’s creative talents and confidence. Of Tenny, who has worked with him for nearly 10 years, Della Femina said, “If you have an important account, that’s the guy you go to.”

Levy Tenny will also tap the services of Don Morrison, director of media services at Della Femina, and Robert Passikoff, president of New York-based con sul tancy Brand Keys.

“If there’s another agency in the picture, you work harder,” said Della Femina about LevyTenny’s plan to chase small accounts. “There’s nothing like competition.”

Levy, 45, largely re spon sible for Ver izon Wireless “Test Man,” was fired by Bozell after it learned he suggested to the client that the account be shifted to sibling Hill, Hol liday, Connors, Cosmopulos, sources said. Last week, Levy declined comment on his departure. “I’m look ing forward at this point,” he said.

Levy’s decision to team up with Tenny in mid-November was affirmed after the duo met with marketers who expressed “dis satis faction with large holding companies and the feeling that they’re not getting what they’re paying for,” said Levy, who will be creative director.