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AirTouch Eyes Finalists For Creative Duties

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AirTouch Cellular has narrowed the list of contenders in its review for the creative portion of its $100 million consolidated account, tapping four finalists.
Those agencies are: Campbell Mithun Esty and BBDO, both in Minneapolis; Bozell Worldwide in Costa Mesa, Calif.; and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners in New York and San Francisco, said sources. Executives at Walnut Creek, Calif.-based AirTouch and San Francisco consultancy Mitchell Madison Group, which is conducting the search, declined comment. Agency executives also would not comment.
AirTouch and Mitchell Madison have made cost a priority in both reviews. "They are looking to maximize every dollar they spend," said one source. AirTouch's media duties have been in play since June; Mitchell Madison also heads that effort. The client, which currently divides creative duties on a regional basis, kicked off the creative search last month, inviting its five roster shops to defend.
TBWA Chiat/Day in Venice, Calif., which handled the $20 million image account, withdrew before finalists were named, sources said. The agency's last campaign used the tagline, "It could change your life." The other eliminated incumbents are Mering and Associates, San Francisco, and Alcone Marketing Group, Irvine, Calif., said sources.
BBDO and Bozell are the only incumbents left in the pitch. Bozell's humorous spots touted AirTouch's cheap, reliable service. BBDO's ads, also humorous, used TBWA C/D's tagline.
AirTouch is also poised to give its consolidated media buying duties to Grey Advertising's MediaCom, New York, sources said [Adweek, Aug. 3].