Free-four-all at Nortel

By Joan Voight and Steve Krajewski

SAN FRANCISCO–Telephone and computer network provider Nortel plans to splinter its $8-10 million main advertising account into separate assignments, with the possibility that some or all of the business could be placed in review, sources said.

J. Walter Thompson’s San Francisco office currently oversees the client’s primary account and has not decided if it will pursue any of the unbundled assignments, sources said.

Temerlin McClain in Irving, Texas, which handles the advertising account of the Nortel Enterprise Networks division, has been involved in discussions about the client’s changing ad plans and is likely to be part of any upcoming reviews, according to sources.

Executives at JWT declined to comment at press time.

Temerlin McClain president Dennis McClain declined to discuss whether his agency has met formally with other Nortel divisions, but said, ‘We really enjoy our relationship with Enterprise Networks. It would be our hope that we could expand our relationships to other divisions.’

Officials at Nortel could not be reached for comment.

The Brampton, Ontario-based client has a decentralized structure in the U.S. consisting of four divisions or ‘lines of business.’ The units are: Wireless Networks, Public Carrier Networks, Broadband Networks and Enterprise Networks.

Under the new marketing configuration, each Nortel division will have the autonomy to select its own ad agency, as Enterprise Networks did in March when it moved its business from JWT to Temerlin without a review.

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