Ameritech Wants Chicago Office From Winning Shop

By Trevor Jensen

CHICAGO–Ameritech’s $100 million account could be split between two shops, and the winning agency or agencies will have to establish a Chicago area office if one doesn’t exist, an Ameritech official said last week.

The Chicago-based communications company last week eliminated five agencies, including two incumbents, from the competition, leaving five shops in the running for the corporate, residential and business accounts.

The lone remaining incumbent is Chicago’s Leo Burnett, which handles Ameritech’s residential phone service and is media agency of record. Other finalists are Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, and New York shops Ammirati Puris Lintas, Lowe & Partners/SMS (which has a field office in Chicago that handles Mercedes- Benz); and BBDO (whose Chicago shop is joining on the pitch). The winning shop will need to ‘establish a presence in Chicago,’ said Karen Sheriff, director of corporate marketing and branding at Ameritech.

While the primary goal of the review was to consolidate Ameritech’s advertising to produce a more singular brand message, it’s possible the business could be shared in some form by two agencies, Sheriff said.

The agencies met with Ameritech last Friday and were given a creative assignment that they are expected to complete in about a month. Ameritech said it will pay finalists an ‘honorarium’ to defray expenses, but would not disclose its size. A decision is expected in June.

Gone are incumbents DDB Needham Chicago, which handles small business and new media, and Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, the agency for corporate and long distance. Sheriff declined to say what led the company to drop the two shops. Also cut were Wells Rich Greene BDDP in New York; Campbell Ewald Advertising, Warren, Mich.; and Rubin Postaer & Associates in Santa Monica, Calif.

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