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Sticking by the shop that introduced it to consumers, Verizon Wireless last week tapped Bozell in New York for a national branding assignment for 2001, estimated to be worth $250 million-plus in billings. There was no review.

Bozell's current Verizon Wireless campaign, launched last spring, and its history of servicing Bell Atlantic Mobile were the reasons the client hired the shop, said Jim Gerace, vp of corporate communications for Verizon Wireless. "Bozell re named and rebranded several companies that came together to form Verizon Wireless," he said.

"We were in a pre-position to get the account," said Bozell N.Y. president Tom Bernardin. "We are building on the foundation of the launch which has established Verizon Wireless as a confident market leader."

The Bedminster, N.J.-based client is ranked by Hoover's as the No. 1 wireless service in the U.S., with more than 26 million customers.

During the spring of 2000, Bell Atlantic Mobile, Vodafone Air Touch, Prime Co. and GTE Wireless merged to form Verizon Wireless. The four companies spent a total of $285 million on advertising during 1999, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

After handling the Bell Atlantic Mobile account for five years, Bozell was awarded the client's initial launch assignment last spring without a review. The shop then broke a branding campaign last April with national TV spots for Verizon Wireless, featuring the tagline, "Join in." The work depicts people speaking on cellular phones and making "V" signs with their index and middle fingers.

Bernardin said that the agency will launch new executions within the next three weeks. Zenith Media handles media duties.