Verizon Cuts to 3 Finalists

NEW YORK Verizon Wireless executives this week will meet with three finalists for chemistry checks in the review for creative duties on the client’s ad account, Verizon Wireless has confirmed.

The finalists are Interpublic Group’s McCann-Erickson and WPP Group’s J. Walter Thompson, both in New York; and Havas’ Arnold in Boston, said Brenda Raney, a representative for the Bedminster, N.J. Estimated billings are $300 million.

Verizon Wireless put its account in review last month and did not invite the incumbent, IPG’s Lowe in New York, to defend. McCann-Erickson is temporarily handling the account, during the review process, which is being handled by Boston consultancy Pile and Co. Media duties, handled by Publicis’ Zenith Media in New York, are not in play.

Separately, Verizon Wireless awarded a project to LevyTenny in New York, Raney said. The assignment is to create a campaign about Verizon Wireless’ text-messaging on cell phones feature. Raney would not comment on billings, but sources estimated the ad budget at $10 million.