Gte Asks Shops About $30 Mil. Direct Task

DALLAS – GTE Corp.’s Network Services division is reviewing roster and nonroster agencies for a direct marketing assignment which sources estimate is worth $30 million. Network Services manages local telephone operations in 28 states.
Glen Gilbert, vice president of advertising at GTE in Irving, Texas, said the company has met with its lead agency, Ogilvy & Mather in New York; Temerlin McClain, also Irving; and other shops. Temerlin develops ads for GTE’s Internet service and retail stores, among other assignments.
Gilbert would not confirm spending or additional contenders, but sources said McCann-Erickson Relationship Marketing in New York and the Irving office of Rapp Collins Worldwide were also contacted.
Executives at all four shops either had not returned calls at press time or declined to comment. A decision date has not been set.
GTE’s various divisions have multiple direct assignments at different agencies. The total value of those tasks is probably similar to the size of the main account, sources said.
Ogilvy has been handling Network Services’ direct chores on a project basis since it won GTE’s $100 million main ad account in February 1997. “Our below-the-line activities can be awarded at the discretion of our individual business units,” said Gilbert.
Much of Ogilvy’s direct work for GTE has been handled by its Dallas office of late, sources said.
It has been speculated that Ogilvy has been having difficulty with the main account. Sources point to the length of time it took Ogilvy to produce its first corporate branding campaign for the client. Ogilvy’s New York co-president, Bill Gray, said that the $100 million account is on solid footing. GTE’s Gilbert also said that business remains unaffected.
GTE representative Sharon Cohen-Hagar said the winning agency will target residential and business prospects, primarily in the company’s three largest markets: Texas, California and Florida. – with Hank Kim