Mcgarrybowen Preps Push for Verizon Android

NEW YORK Verizon, despite consolidating most of its marketing services duties for its communications, business and wireless units at McCann Worldgroup two years ago, has handed a wireless assignment to mcgarrybowen, its former communications division agency, sources said.

The New York shop, a unit of Dentsu, will handle creative duties behind the launch of a new mobile phone featuring Google’s Android operating system that Verizon will start offering next month, according to sources. Among other things, the system will enable marketers to tailor messages to consumers based on where they’re located, said a source.

The phone, which will be manufactured by Motorola and likely have both a touchscreen and collapsible keyboard, represents an opportunity for Verizon and Motorola to compete more aggressively with popular devices such as Apple’s iPhone for which AT&T provides service.

Mcgarrybowen is said to be in pre-production on a creative concept that the agency pitched to win the assignment. Sources expect the launch to be backed by at least $40 million in major media spending.

The agency referred calls to the Basking Ridge, N.J.-based client, which declined to comment. McCann, which remains Verizon’s lead creative agency across all business lines, also had no comment.

Verizon’s consolidation of most of its business at McCann Worldgroup in 2007 resulted in the elimination of mcgarrybowen (and Havas’ Euro RSCG) from the client’s roster.

The loss was a blow both financially and emotionally to mcgarrybowen because Verizon was the shop’s first client when it opened in 2002. In fact, the agency’s first work was a Verizon-backed TV spot called “Lady Liberty” that ran on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Verizon’s major media spending in the first half of 2009 totaled $885 million, up 10 percent from 2008’s first-half total of $807 million, according to The Nielsen Co. Full-year spending totaled $1.61 billion in 2008, per Nielsen. Those figures don’t include online outlays.