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Verizon Calls on Hill

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Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos has returned to the telecommunications category, ad-ding the estimated $50 million Northeast retail account of Verizon Wireless.

Berenter Greenhouse & Webster and Lowe Lintas & Partners, both in New York, also competed in a review that concluded last week, sources said. Bozell, New York, had handled the assignment, which in-cludes mainly marketing duties for metropolitan New York, New Jersey and New England.

Boston-based Hill, Holliday was led in the pitch by David Wecal, president of its New York office, and Ruth Ayres, the shop's executive vice president/chief marketing officer. Verizon Wireless is the first major win for the shop under the new-business leadership of Ayres, who joined in July from TBWA Worldwide .

"It's a big piece of business in a very hot category," said Hill, Holliday chairman and CEO Jack Connors. Winning Verizon Wireless returns Hill, Holliday to the telecommunications category; the shop in the past worked for Omnipoint and CellularOne.

Verizon Wireless will be handled out of Hill, Holliday's 110-person New York office, and may be the outpost's single largest account. Priceline.com is also handled by that office.

Winning Verizon Wireless "gives us some momentum going into the next year," Wecal said. Client official Diane Whitehead praised Hill, Holliday's "strategic ability and integrated approach" to the assignment.

Verizon Wireless purports to be the largest wireless provider in the U.S., with more than 26 million voice and data customers and 3.5 million paging customers.