TBWA\C\D Out of Sprint Pitch

NEW YORK Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day said it would not defend its share of U.S. creative duties on the Sprint Nextel account as the Reston, Va.-based client prepares to meet this week with about six shops.

Taking meetings with Sprint are MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami, Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco and WPP Group units Ogilvy & Mather and Young & Rubicam, both in New York, according to sources. Other shops could not immediately be ascertained.

In addition, the incumbent on the business-to-business portion of the account, Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco, has offered to pitch the entire assignment in partnership with Publicis Groupe sibling Saatchi & Saatchi, said sources. It is unclear, however, if the client would accept the offer in light of its stated desire to consolidate the account at a single shop.

Based on this week’s meetings, Sprint will select a handful of finalists, the rep said.

The agencies either declined comment or could not be reached.

Sprint spends $1.2 billion annually in measured media and TBWA\C\D’s consumer portion of the business represents an estimated $30 million in revenue. As such, Sprint Nextel is the largest client in the shop’s New York office.

The No. 3 telecommunications company launched its review three weeks ago and this week began visiting agencies interested in pitching the account, according to a client representative, who declined to name the shops.

“This was a strategic decision made with a clear understanding of Sprint’s challenged business situation, and how we can best help them going forward,” the agency said in a statement.

TBWA\C\D continued, “We remain very committed to Sprint as a partner for the remaining aspects of service including retail and the marketing services assignments we have through” the agency’s Tequila unit.

Sprint chief marketing officer Mark Schweitzer and his team “have been excellent partners for nearly four years, two reviews and countless successes,” the shop added. “We will continue to support Sprint in many areas going forward.”