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Sprint Nextel Starts Search

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NEW YORK Sprint Nextel is launching a review of its creative assignment, now split between TBWA\Chiat\Day and Publicis & Hal Riney, the client confirmed.

The company's annual major media spending exceeds $1.2 billion.

Omnicom Group's TBWA\C\D here handles the bulk of the business, which consists of consumer-directed advertising, while Publicis Groupe's Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco handles business-directed ads. Sprint is the largest account of TBWA\C\D in New York with estimated revenue of $30 million. Riney's revenue slice is approximately $10 million.

Media duties, at WPP Group's MindShare in New York, are not in play.

The Reston, Va.-based client is drawing up a list of agencies to consider but a representative declined to name shops, and would not say if the incumbents would be invited to defend.

Sprint plans to consolidate the business at a single agency by the end of the first quarter, according to the rep. The client is seeking a "fresh approach" and "new thinking" to drive its business, the rep added.

"It's really about regaining our competitive momentum," said the rep.

TBWA\C\D's most recent work features actor Ron Livingston and the tagline, "Power up." The agency landed launch and consumer duties on the combined brand in June 2005, amid Sprint's $35 billion acquisition of Nextel. Before that, the shop was Nextel's lead agency.

Last year, through September, Sprint Nextel had spent more than $860 million in measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The 2005 total exceeded $1.2 billion, per TNS.