AT&T Issues Strict Rules in RFP

The RFP for AT&T Wireless warns contenders to leave their storyboards at home and delves deeply into potential conflict issues, sources said. Meanwhile, two more agencies have received questionnaires for the estimated $300-400 million account.

“Presentation of creative is not required and will not be viewed by the team positively,” said one source, quoting from the RFP. Questionnaires are due back March 29.

Another source said understanding the business strategy and the category is paramount.

Much of the RFP is devoted to the issue of client conflicts, a third source said, adding that “the conflict questions are pretty arduous.” The RFP asks shops to disclose relationships with other telecom companies, even those that manufacture hardware.

Agencies will be briefed the week of April 23 in West Palm Beach, Fla., by AT&T Wireless vp of advertising Phil Jacobus, sources said.

On May 7, the client will make “notification of selected finalists,” according to the questionnaire. Final pitches are scheduled for the end of May through early June.

FCB San Francisco has held the account for nearly four years, but FCB New York is spearheading the defense.

When the account went into review earlier this month, AT&T officials cited the telecom giant’s split into four units-wireless, broadband, business and consumer-as the impetus.

Shops that have received RFPs include the New York offices of Ogilvy & Mather, TBWA\Chiat\Day, Saatchi & Saatchi and Grey, and Leo Burnett in Chicago, sources said.

Last week, Fallon in Minneapolis and D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles
in New York also received questionnaires; however, AT&T roster shop Young & Rubicam, New York, had not been contacted, sources said.

Officials at each of the agencies either could not be reached or declined comment. AT&T Wireless officials in Kirkland, Wash., also declined comment.