Nortel to Split Account

By Joan Voight and Steve Krajewski

SAN FRANCISCO–Telephone and computer network provider Nortel plans to splinter its main, $8-10 million advertising account into four assignments, with the possibility that some or all of them could be placed in review, sources said.

J. Walter Thompson’s San Francisco office oversees the main account and has not decided if it wants to pursue any of the unbundled assignments, said sources.

Temerlin McClain in Irving, Texas, which handles the account for the Nortel Enterprise Networks division, has been involved in discussions about the reorganization plans and is likely to be part of any upcoming reviews, according to sources.

Executives at JWT declined to comment on the reorganization.

Temerlin McClain president Dennis McClain declined to discuss whether his agency met formally with other Nortel divisions but said, ‘We really enjoy our relationship with Enterprise Networks. It would be our hope that we could expand our relationships to other divisions.’

Nortel officials could not be reached.

The Brampton, Ontario-based client has a decentralized structure in the U.S. consisting of four divisions: wireless networks, public carrier networks, broadband networks and enterprise networks.

The public carrier networks unit is based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and the other three divisions are in Richardson, Texas. Under the new marketing configuration, each division will have the autonomy to select its own advertising agency.

In addition, the company has a global corporate ad assignment handled out of its Canadian headquarters. JWT handles the corporate business as well as all divisions except for Enterprise Networks, which moved from JWT to Temerlin without a review last March. Ad billings for that unit were boosted to an estimated $10-15 million after the agency shift.

Separately, Jon Hyde, the longtime executive creative director of JWT’s San Francisco office, has resigned and the agency is conducting a national search for a replacement.

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