Verizon Holds Regional Reviews

Cellular Retail Advertising Is at Issue in Southwest, South Central
DALLAS–Verizon Wireless is holding two separate regional reviews for its retail advertising account in the Southwest and South Central markets.
The company is a separately operated division of the Verizon telecommunications behemoth formed by the merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic. The client operates 1,100 cellular telephone stores nationwide and is divided into seven marketing areas.
“We put together and are integrating several companies and there’s some agency overlap. That’s what gets us to here,” said Verizon Wireless spokesperson Jim Gerace.
Gerace said the review was limited to incumbent agencies, but declined to name contenders. Ogilvy & Mather in Dallas was the lead agency for GTE Wireless. Bozell’s New York office is the former shop for the account of Bell Atlantic Mobile Communications. Bozell is currently handling Verizon Wireless’ national branding campaign. Neither agency could be reached for comment at press time. Several other roster agencies with presences in the regions are said to be participating.
Presentations were made to the client on Aug. 4, with a final agency decision due later this month. Billings for the two accounts were not disclosed.
Gerace said the two reviews are being conducted independently of Verizon Communications’ concurrent agency review for its $100-150 million national branding account. Participants in that contest include Temerlin McClain, Irving, Texas; Arnold Communications, Boston; The Lord Group, New York; Burrell Communications, Chicago; and Ogilvy & Mather, Dallas.
Verizon Wireless is not expected to review its agency relationships in the other five market areas at this time, Gerace said. Bedminster, N.J.-based Verizon Wireless was formed this year when Bell Atlantic and Vodafone AirTouch (now Vodafone) combined their U.S. wireless communications assets, including the PrimeCo partnership. The new company gained GTE’s U.S. wireless operations when Bell Atlantic bought GTE to form Verizon Communications. The new company provides service to some 25 million mobile phone users and 4 million paging customers.
At issue in last week’s union-led strike against Verizon Communications is an agreement on procedures to make it easier for labor unions to organize workers at the 32,000-employee Verizon Wireless unit. K