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AT&T Wireless Severs Ties With Avenue A

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NEW YORK AT&T Wireless is ending its three-year relationship with Avenue A, client and agency representatives confirmed.

"We're always looking at our agencies and how they're doing, and we made a decision to go in another direction," said AT&T Wireless representative Mark Siegel.

Siegel said the Redmond, Wash.-based client is still finalizing terms with an undisclosed interactive agency, selected after a review.

The move comes one week after AT&T Wireless shifted its $120 million corporate branding account from WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather in New York to Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco. Ogilvy will continue to work on retail newspaper and business-to-business advertising, as well as the client's pay-as-you-go service, GoPhone.

Avenue A parent aQuantive said the loss of AT&T Wireless, one of its top five clients, will not be reflected in its second-quarter financial results, due out next Wednesday. The account defection will be partially offset by new business from Starwood Hotels and Victoria's Secret, among others, according to a representative from the Seattle-based digital marketing and technology company.

"Despite the loss of AT&T Wireless as an Avenue A client, aQuantive's financial position remains strong," said Brian McAndrews, president and CEO of aQuantive, which also owns i-Frontier and Atlas DMT. "We still expect our 2003 gross profit to increase by over 40 percent from 2002 and our year-end outlook continues to remain positive."