Nextel Cuts to Arnold, TBWA\Chiat\Day

BOSTON Arnold and TBWA\Chiat\Day have advanced in the review for the creative portion of Nextel’s $150-million account, a client representative said.

Cut today were seven-year incumbent Mullen, Wenham, Mass., an Interpublic Group agency, and Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett, Chicago, the client representative said.

The cut had not been anticipated, as the four shops last week made presentations at Nextel’s Reston, Va., headquarters, and a winner was expected to be named this week.

The Nextel representative did not explain the reason for the cut, nor would she say if the two shops will be asked back for further presentations. Arnold, Boston, is owned by Havas; TBWA\C\D, New York, is a unit of Omnicom.

Mullen ceo Joe Grimaldi declined to comment on Nextel’s decision. The wireless communications company constitutes approximately one-quarter of the agency’s billings, and ranks as its largest account.

In a concurrent review for Nextel media chores, the finalists are Publicis’ Starcom, Omnicom’s PHD, Havas’ Media Planning Group and incumbent Initiative Media, an IPG shop.

Roth Associates, New York, is overseeing the review process. — with Aaron Baar