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Nynex review winding up, Bell Atlantic said to last until May By David Gianatasi

BOSTON–A total of $180 million in telecommunications media buying is slowly wending its way out of the review process. Shops contin

Last week, Nynex spokesperson Janine Mudge said a denouement in that drama could be expected “shortly” but wouldn’t elaborate on what exactly that meant. So finalists Arnold Fortuna Lawner & Cabot/Boston and New York’s Chiat/Day and Bozell will continue to await the verdict. That decision will come down in one of two ways. Either media assignments will stay as they are, or one of the finalists will be handed the entire buying assignment, Mudge said.
But after five months, the question persists: What exactly is the hold-up? According to Mudge, there isn’t one. She insisted that the review is not stalled. With so much money at stake, and so many complex media issues on the table, Nynex’s business units want to make sure that their decision is correct, she said.
“Nynex has visited each of the three finalist agencies,” Mudge said. It’s now up to an unnamed search committee, comprised of executives from various Nynex companies, to make the final call on the matter.
The account went into review last November (ADWEEK, Nov. 9, 1992). At the time, Nynex said it hoped to make a decision by Dec. 31. Then as that date came and went, a “first-quarter 1993” decision was expected. That revised deadline passed two weeks ago.
The review generated controversy when finalists were announced in January and bigger agencies–New York shops Grey; Ogilvy & Mather; Saatchi & Saatchi; and Young & Rubicam–were expunged from the list. Sources at those shops criticized the short list selection of AFL&C, which they said was too small, and Chiat/Day, which they said was not strong in media.
As for Bozell, at least one source has complained that the agency had an unfair advantage because former Nynex executive Joan Walker now serves as president of Bozell’s public relations unit. Bernie Bloomfield, Nynex managing director of advertising, blasted that charge as being groundless and ridiculous.
Meanwhile, J. Walter Thompson; Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor; W.B. Doner & Co.; Earle Palmer Brown; Foote, Cone & Belding; and media buying services SFM Media Corp. and DeWitt Media will wait until May to learn who will capture Bell Atlantic’s $50 million consolidation.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)