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Verizon Puts $50 Mil. in Play

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Verizon Wireless, already known to be holding reviews in its Southwest and South Central re-gions, has put its Northeast retail advertising assignment in review.

The lion's share of that ac-count, which covers mainly metropolitan New York and New England, is handled by Bozell in New York, which also works on the client's national image campaign, tagged, "Join in." The Northeast retail advertising budget was not disclosed, but sources put it at $50 million.

"Some of our regions across the country are reviewing agencies [for] local, tactical advertising [including the Northeast region]," said Nancy Stark, a representative with Verizon Wireless in Bedminster, N.J.

Bozell has been invited to defend in the Northeast competition, and its standing as the agency for Verizon Wireless is not in jeopardy, Stark said.

She declined to discuss further details or disclose the names of other shops that have been contacted.

The client was already holding two separate reviews for its retail advertising businesses in Southwest and South Central markets.

Verizon Communications, the New York-based carrier that is run autonomously from the wireless company, has also been evaluating its roster shops—Ogilvy & Mather, Dallas; Temerlin McClain, Irving, Texas; Arnold Communications, Boston; Burrell Communications, Chicago; and The Lord Group, New York—for a national assignment [Adweek, June 22]. At least some of those shops are believed to be participating in the regional Verizon Wireless reviews.

Verizon Wireless was formed this year when Bell Atlantic and Vodafone combined operations. The new company gained GTE's domestic wireless operations when Bell Atlantic bought GTE to form Verizon Communications. Verizon Wireless provides service to 25 million mobile-phone users and 4 million pager users.