4 Shops Eye U S West

CHICAGO – Three Midwest shops are among the four agencies vying for creative and media planning duties on U S West Communications’ $40-50 million brand, consumer, small business and Interprise data account.
Campbell Mithun Esty and Martin/Williams, both in Minneapolis, and DDB Needham Chicago join Bozell Worldwide’s Seattle office as finalists for the business, the company said last week. The review is being conducted by Chicago consultants Jones-Lundin & Associates. A decision is expected in June.
Both M/W and DDB Needham are units of Omnicom Group. The pitch is M/W’s first since its parent GGT Group was acquired by Omnicom earlier this year.
U S West does not plan to replace its ad theme, “Life’s better here,” developed by incumbent N.W. Ayer & Partners, New York. Ayer declined to participate in the review, said Pamela K. El, U S West vice president of advertising.
The Englewood, Colo.-based telecommunications company’s March announcement that it would restructure its retail marketing advertising account met with responses from 21 agencies. Eight of those were interviewed before the list was narrowed to the final four, the company said.
The company left open the possibility of splitting the account among more than one agency.
The review does not involve media buying, which is handled by Cash Plus, the media subsidiary of CME, whose relationship with U S West dates to 1988, when it handled its home and personal services.
DDB Needham Chicago handled the business services division of Ameritech until the client’s agency consolidation last summer. M/W does not have telecommunications experience, although agency officials said their experience in retail advertising with US Bank and Target Stores is an advantage.
–with Trevor Jensen and Angela Dawson.