Ameritech’s quest to link with new advertising partners has extended to include a review for its small business services division, worth an estimated $20 million, now handled by Lintas:Campbell-Ewald’s offices in Chicago and Warren, Mich.
Lintas, already smarting from the recent account losses with billings totaling nearly $150 million, will defend the account against DDB Needham Chicago, Foote, Cone & Belding/Chicago and Fallon McElligott/Minneapolis, sources said. FM last week was awarded Ameritech’s $15 million corporate account after a review that also included Needham and Tatham Euro RSCG, both Chicago; Cramer-Krasselt/Milwaukee; and (briefly) Wieden & Kennedy/Portland, Ore.
‘The small-business unit is a huge growth area for Ameritech,’ said one source close to the review. ‘With all of the changes going on in the communications industry, this is going to be a very dynamic part of Ameritech’s business.’
An Ameritech spokesperson confirmed the review and said a decision is expected in November.
The review could deliver yet another blow to Lintas, coming on the heels of three major losses recently: Diet Coke, IBM and, this week, Molson.
The Ameritech business is particularly important to Lintas, which in March moved its three-person Chicago service office into the high-rent One Magnificent Mile building where Ameritech sister agency Tatham Euro RSCG is housed. At the time, Richard O’Connor, Lintas chairman/ceo, said the office was moved for Ameritech’s convenience, but that he hoped the office would also serve as a launching pad for other new business in the Chicago market.
Lintas officials could not be reached for comment.
The small business services division may not be the last piece of Ameritech to reevaluate its advertising needs, according to several sources familiar with the company.
‘It’s not surprising (that the small business is in review). I think you’ll see a number of the divisions evaluating their agency needs,’ said one Ameritech agency source.
The review comes just as Fallon McElligott was being welcomed to the Ameritech roster last week as corporate agency of record.
Details on FM’s winning pitch are closely guarded, however sources said last week Ameritech’s current tagline, ‘Your link to a better life,’ will not be part of the corporate campaign expected to break early next year. Agency executives refused to comment on the tagline or any campaign specifics except to say the agency’s work would break first quarter, 1994.
‘We definitely took the high road in this pitch,’ said Pat Fallon, FM chairman. ‘They (Ameritech) was clear about the need to communicate a brand and I think we showed them something that was unexpected.’
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)