Lucent Spins Off New Ad Account




RFPs Issued to Long List of Nine Contenders for $60 Mil. Biz
NEW YORK–A spinoff of Lucent Technologies is reaching out to agencies about a new global assignment with billings estimated at $60 million, sources said.
Lucent, based in Murray Hill, N.J., is establishing a new company to market voice-technology products and needs a shop to develop its brand image, sources said. Both creative and media duties are in play.
By definition, the assignment is business-to-business and the company is looking for a shop that can handle both traditional advertising and below-the-line marketing duties, sources said.
The spinoff, which does not yet have a name, has drawn up a long list of shops that includes BBDO Worldwide, DDB, J. Walter Thompson, Young & Rubicam, Ogilvy & Mather, TBWA/Chiat/Day, Merkley Newman Harty, Arnold Communications and Mullen, sources said. It’s unclear, however, whether, owing to possible conflicts and workload, all those shops will pursue the business.
RFPs that generically identified the company as “New Co.” were circulated last week and are due back on Friday, sources said. In a few weeks, the company is expected to cut to a short list of 3-4 shops, according to sources. The new entity hopes to select an agency in May.
Managing the search is Richard Roth Associates in Chappaqua, N.Y. Roth confirmed the assignment but referred questions to Lucent, which did not return calls by press time.
Lucent’s lead roster shop is McCann-Erickson Worldwide in New York. Sources speculated that McCann was not contacted because the spinoff specifically wanted a shop of its own.
Recent TV and print ads position Lucent as an innovative, forward-thinking and “reliable” provider of products that drive businesses. The ads employ the tagline, “We make the things that make communications work.”
Last year, Lucent spent more than $32 million on measured media, according to Competitive Media Reporting–about the same as in 1998 but down from a high of $61 million in 1996. K