Level 3 Selects DDB Needham

DDB Needham Dallas last week was negotiating a contract covering the $30 million-plus advertising account of telecom upstart Level 3 Communications, sources said.
DDB edged out Leo Burnett, Chicago; Winkler Advertising, San Francisco; and at least one undisclosed agency in the company’s review, according to these sources.
DDB chief executive officer and president Jake Schroepfer declined to comment. Representatives of Level 3, which is relocating its corporate headquarters from Omaha, Neb., to Broomfield, Colo., would not confirm DDB’s selection at press time.
Sources close to the review said DDB has begun work on a marketing plan for Level 3 that will include broadcast and print advertising, along with direct marketing, collateral and online assignments.
A Level 3 representative did not dispute an initial advertising budget of $30 million for the company [Adweek, May 25], but sources said spending could reach $50 million within a year.
DDB Needham’s Chicago office is currently a finalist for the $40-50 million account of regional Bell offspring U S West Communications in Englewood, Colo. It was not clear at press time if the agency’s participation in that review would be affected.
Level 3 is in the midst of building an advanced fiber-optic network across the U.S. that will transmit voice, data and video using internet protocol (IP) technology. Level 3 claims IP is significantly cheaper and more efficient than existing circuit-switched phone systems.
Level 3’s advertising timetable was not clear last week, but the company has said its network will be operational in six cities by July and will expand to 15 markets by the end of the year. The company is also plotting international expansion.
Level 3 will primarily target business customers for its services. It has announced plans to complete its national network within 36 months.