WestWayne, MNH in Fight For BellSouth

BellSouth may not have been able to merge with Sprint last week, but executives acknowledged a plan to combine one segment of their advertising account.
New York’s Merkley Newman Harty and WestWayne here, which split a variety of BellSouth accounts and share corporate branding duties, have been told there will be a shootout for the latter portion of the business, worth $20 million.
“There is a corporate consolidation of the account under way,” confirmed Deb Spicer, BellSouth’s director of corporate communications. “We are looking for a very cohesive and focused positioning of our brand, so what we will be doing is putting the resources on these two campaigns into one effort.” Competitive Media Reporting cites the client’s total 1998 ad spending as $135 million.
Spicer said pitches would take place in mid-November. Alan Blunt, the assistant vice president of corporate advertising, is overseeing the contest.
MNH’s new Atlanta shop, Bayless/Cronin, will be in the pitch. The initial deal that brought together partners Tim Bayless and Jerry Cronin under the Omnicom company’s ultimate control was partially a move to strengthen MNH’s Atlanta presence. The two now share the BellSouth workload, the bulk of which was previously handled in New York.
The agencies declined comment, Spicer said no matter who wins, “there will still be a significant amount of [BellSouth] business for the other agency.” –with Andrew McMains