AirTouch Now Consolidating Creative Duties

If one review to consolidate agencies is good, two is better.
That’s the approach wireless communications company AirTouch Cellular seems to be embracing. The company, which is already in the midst of a review to consolidate its media buying duties, is now inviting agencies nationwide–including its six roster shops–to pitch the creative portion of its consolidated $80-100 million account. A decision is expected by the end of the year.
The Walnut Creek, Calif.-based company, a subsidiary of AirTouch Communications, currently divides creative duties among the six agencies: TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif.; Mering and Associates, San Francisco; BBDO, Minneapolis; Bozell, Costa Mesa, Calif., and Detroit; and Alcone Marketing Group, Irvine, Calif.
TBWA Chiat/Day handles the bulk of the client’s branding duties, while the other shops create most of the regional advertising for AirTouch Cellular’s products and services.
“Having one creative resource [will allow] us to sustain our competitive edge as we continue our drive for new customers,” said Ujjal Kohli, executive vice president of marketing for AirTouch.
The creative review will be handled by Mitchell Madison Group, a San Francisco consultancy, which is also handling the media review. An in-house team led by director of advertising Carol Kilgore is being formed to oversee the process.
Sources said AirTouch will likely wrap up the media review before proceeding with the creative one. Grey Advertising, New York, is poised to win the media business, sources said [Adweek, Aug. 3]. A formal decision is expected by the end of the month.
Sources said AirTouch has been considering consolidating its creative account for several months, and that several company executives, including president Arun Sarin and vice president of marketing Scott Falconer, recently sought the advice of “select” West Coast agency executives about “how they can do things better.”