Help Is on the Way

Verizon SuperPages is expected to name a consultant today to manage its $30 million creative and media planning review, a client representative said.

A contract has not been signed with any consultancy, said Stephanie Hobbs, a SuperPages representative, declining further comment.

Sources said the leading contender to manage the search is Mary Ma roun’s New York consultancy, Combustion, which handled it last year.

Deutsch, New York, landed the business in March 2001, but since that shop won the branded-services portion of MCI’s $100 million account last month, Dallas-based SuperPages decided to look for another agency.

While Deutsch CEO Donny Deutsch said he cleared his shop’s pursuit of MCI with SuperPages beforehand, sources said executives at parent Verizon Communications were rankled at the MCI win [Adweek, Feb. 25]. When Deutsch won MCI, sources said, other Interpublic Group agencies on the Verizon roster immediately began angling for the SuperPages business.

New York IPG shops on the roster include Lowe; Bo zell; Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmo pulos; and Draft. Zenith Media, owned by Publicis and Cordiant Communications, handles media buying.

One source said SuperPages might consider other Verizon accounts to be conflicts, adding, “Their definition of a conflict is pretty broad.”

One of the key decision-makers in selecting a shop for the client is Marilyn Burrows, director of marketing communications for Verizon Information Services, sources said.