Merkley, Bayless Win BellSouth

New York-Atlanta Joint Effort Secures Unified Corporate Branding
ATLANTA–Merkley Newman Harty teamed with Bayless/Cronin to win BellSouth’s consolidated
corporate branding account, worth at least $21 million.
The joint effort of the New York headquarters and its office here topped the other agency that shared the corporate account, Atlanta’s WestWayne, which will continue to work with the client in a number of other areas.
New York executive creative directors Marty Orzio, Andy Hirsch and Randy Saitta joined forces with Tim Bayless and Jerry Cronin. They presented a singular campaign strategy that “won on about six out of the eight criteria” used in making the decision, said Jeff Battcher, BellSouth’s corporate communications director.
Battcher said the pitch ranged “far beyond just creative concepts.
. . . It had to do with strategy, the perception of the BellSouth brand name and what we’re going to do to expand that, p-o-p materials, in-store brand merchandising and public relations. This was an overall, all-encompassing pitch that wasn’t about one particular thing that made a winner, but instead Merkley winning out on a majority of the battles.”
Competitive Media Reporting cites BellSouth’s 1998 corporate promotions budget at $21 million, but MNH managing director Steve Harty said the account was “significantly larger than that.” He would not elaborate, and the client declined to provide a dollar figure.
The deal that brought Bayless/Cronin under the Omnicom shop’s control was done to strengthen MNH’s Atlanta presence and buttress the BellSouth account.
Harty said the account will “still be driven from New York, though Tim and I are talking that through. Obviously it makes a lot of sense to have an office in Atlanta that is significantly involved in the process. We just haven’t sorted it all out yet.”
One other development of the win is the shift of Bayless/Cronin’s West Florida BellSouth Cellular Service account to WestWayne, which already handles the lion’s share of the Southeastern market. Long Haymes Carr in Winston-Salem, N.C., will continue to handle BellSouth Mobility in the Carolinas, eastern Tennessee and coastal Georgia. WestWayne will also continue to serve as BellSouth’s agency for Bapco, its Yellow Pages, and local Internet portal.