Verizon and Wieden + Kennedy Split After 2 Years

McCann New York inherits the account

The independent agency and the telecommunications company first became partners in January 2015. Getty Images
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Verizon and Wieden + Kennedy have parted ways after working together for two years.

“We are continuously optimizing our agency roster and appreciate the work that W+K has delivered over the past two years, but have decided to mutually part ways,” a client spokesperson wrote.

The independent agency and the telecommunications giant first became partners in January 2015, when Verizon hired Wieden without a review to handle the bulk of its primary brand work.

W+K’s first campaign, which debuted in fall 2015, focused on promoting the quality of the company’s network in a sprawling series of ads. The agency continued to produce work for the client but moved away from such headlining, TV-focused efforts, focusing instead on tech-heavy work like the Minecraft Verizon phone highlighted at this year’s CES.

The reasons for the split are not clear at this time. A Wieden + Kennedy spokesperson deferred to the client for comment, and Verizon declined to elaborate. Sources with direct knowledge of the matter, however, tell Adweek that McCann New York has inherited this portion of the business from W+K much as it absorbed mcgarrybowen’s creative responsibilities on Verizon FiOS in late 2015.

Verizon is one of North America’s largest advertisers. According to Kantar Media, the company spent $1.5 billion on measured media in the U.S. in 2015 and approximately $850 million during the first nine months of 2016. As per the spokesperson’s statement, Verizon also works with a very large and frequently rotating cast of agency partners.

At the time Wieden first won the business, chief communications officer Jim Gerace estimated that the number of roster shops serving various parts of the Verizon organization numbered “about 40.”

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.