Grey Wins BellSouth

Grey’s victory last week in BellSouth’s $120 million review was grounded in its success in presenting a strategic marketing plan and solid creative executions that covered all of the telecom’s products, sources said.

The New York shop and darkGrey, its high-tech unit, defeated co-finalists Arnold in Boston, The Richards Group in Dallas and incumbent Merkley, Newman Harty & Partners, also in New York.

Wanamaker & Associates in Atlanta conducted the review.

“We were looking for an agency to position us as a company with multiple products and target markets ranging from high-tech customers to consumers interested in call waiting,” said Jeff Battcher, director of corporate communications at BellSouth.

Elaborating such a strategy was more important than creative in deciding a winner, according to Alan Blount, BellSouth’s vice president of marketing.

Blount, William Pate, vice president of advertising and public relations, and media and promotions director Marcie Raible were among those on the telecom’s review committee.

DarkGrey’s success in marketing clients like Oracle and Unisys was critical because of BellSouth’s decision to move heavily into long-distance and data delivery over the next three years.

The review decision came as a bitter blow to Merkley, which by all accounts, lost the business because of the departure of account leader Steve Harty.

Atlanta’s 360 pitched the business in conjunction with Grey.