Verizon Kicks Off Another Review

Verizon Information Services is looking for its first ad agency to handle the estimated $30-50 million Yellow Pages business, including its electronic phone and retail directory,

Requests for proposals were issued last week to 15 shops across the U.S., including Verizon roster and nonroster shops, said Stephanie Hobbs, a representative for the Dallas company.

“We’re looking for someone who can take the brand to the next level,” said Marilyn Burrows, executive director of marketing for Verizon Information Services, which was formed in July by the merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic. “Someone who will be a strategic and inte-grated partner and has a broadbrush branding approach.”

The review is being handled by Mary Maroun of Combustion, a New York consultancy. Maroun was president of TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York from 1996-99.

The winning shop’s new campaign, to launch next year, will use TV, radio, print, direct marketing, outdoor, interactive and ethnic marketing, said Hobbs.

“We have ethnic directories and are looking for a fully integrated agency that has reach into ethnic regions,” Hobbs said.

Roster shops on Verizon’s corporate-image account include Burrell Communications in Chicago, Arnold Worldwide in Boston, The Lord Group in New York, Temerlin Mc-Clain in Irving, Texas, and La Agencia de Orci in Los Angeles.

Since the company became Verizon, it has conducted a series of agency reviews.

Last month, Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in New York won Verizon Wireless’s $50 million Northeast retail account, and Bates Southwest in Dallas won the cli-ent’s South Central retail account.

Questionnaires are due back in early January, followed by a cut, Hobbs said. By month’s end, the client will hold credentials meetings with agencies, with strategic and creative pitches in February.

A selection is expected by the end of February.

Verizon Information Services reports annual revenue of $4 billion and is the exclusive provider of Yellow Pages services to AOL, Lycos and HotBot.