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Love, McGarry Bowen Style

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NEW YORK McGarry Bowen's first corporate-image ads for Verizon Communications bear the characteristically sentimental stamp of the startup's creative director, Gordon Bowen, to show how folks stay connected in real-life situations.

The inaugural 60-second commercial, which broke last week, shows a 20-something guy who tries to make up with his girlfriend after a lover's spat. "Scott" attempts to reconnect with "Catherine" through Verizon services. He leaves 17 voicemails, faxes the message, "I'm sorry," and even e-mails photos of himself singing, "All I need is you"-a line from the 1985 pop song, "All I Need Is a Miracle."

Scott, who appears to be in a band, sings the song's chorus during a break in a rehearsal. Catherine ignores him until the end, when he knocks on her door. She opens it, and the hard expression on her face melts. The spot retains the "Make progress every day" tagline introduced last year by fellow Verizon shop Lowe.

Another spot in production shows a guy on a rafting trip receiving a call about his wife, who is ready to give birth, and he gets to the hospital in time to see the baby arrive, said a source.

Music is playing an integral role in the effort, which will consist of more than a half-dozen spots-possibly as many as 10, sources said.

The work is similar to the style for which Bowen has become known in ads for AT&T and American Express, among others. (The AT&T spots conveyed the idea of phones connecting family members, such as a father and daughter.)

The New York agency referred calls to Verizon, which confirmed the shop produced the "Miracle" spot. A Verizon rep cited the heartstrings approach, adding, "It's real. It's emotive. It creates a connection."

Last fall, Verizon hired McGarry Bowen, a partnership of former Young & Rubicam executives, to create "corporate brand and image advertising," a task previously handled by Lowe [Adweek, Nov. 4].

A budget for the campaign could not be ascertained. Verizon typically spends more than $120 million annually on ads, according to CMR.

Separately, Verizon last week filled its top marketing post, which had been vacant since July. The new svp for brand management and marketing communications is Jerri DeVard, former chief marketing officer for Citigroup's e-Consumer division. DeVard starts today and reports to Bruce Gordon, president of retail markets.