Verizon Calls on R/GA, Avenue A

NEW YORK Verizon Communications has tapped R/GA and Avenue A to handle its interactive advertising account following a review, a client representative confirmed.

Interpublic Group’s R/GA in New York and aQuantive’s Avenue A, also New York, will steer creative and media planning and buying, respectively, the client said.

The two shops replace Havas’ Euro RSCG Circle in Boston, which has held the business-to-business and business-to-consumer online account since Verizon’s formation from the summer 2000 merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic. Before that, Circle worked with Bell Atlantic.

In addition to R/GA, Avenue A and the incumbent, sources said the review included IconMedialab’s IconNicholson and DraftDigital, both New York. The latter is a part of IPG’s Draft Worldwide, which handles Verizon’s offline advertising, as does independent McGarry Bowen in New York.

“Our interactive advertising is becoming more and more a part of our media mix,” said the Verizon representative, adding that it seemed prudent to review the account as the Web “takes on greater prominence.”

The New York-based client spent $15 million on online measured media in 2002 and $20 million in the first ten months of the year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

One of the key decision makers in the review was Amy Rubenstein, an ad veteran who joined Verizon in September in the newly created post of vp of brand management for retail services. She most recently was general manager at Wunderman in New York, a part of WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam.