Verizon has confirmed shifting additional creative business to roster shop mcgarrybowen, a move that comes at the expense of lead agency McCann Erickson, which remains on the roster — at least for now.
“We are moving some of our advertising [duties] to mcgarrybowen but McCann Erickson will continue to be one” of Verizon’s roster shops, a client representative said in response to questions about a shift.
The rep did not elaborate and the agencies either declined to comment or did not return calls. Sources said, however, that creative duties on Verizon’s FiOS service were not part of the move. McCann, however, is said to be fighting to retain that piece amid competition from mcgarrybowen.
The shift is seen as a major blow to McCann’s New York office, where Verizon is its largest client, and a huge boost to the crosstown operation of mcgarrybowen, a unit of Dentsu that re-joined Verizon’s roster last year to handle advertising for the launch of Verizon’s new Droid phone.
Interpublic Group’s McCann will lose at least $20 million in revenue and potentially more if FiOS also leaves, according to sources. The office’s total revenue is estimated between $150 million and $200 million.
Major media spending for Verizon totaled $1.51 billion last year, the bulk of which — $1.11 billion — backed Verizon Wireless, according to Nielsen. Spending behind FiOS represented just a fraction of the total pie: about $185 million, per Nielsen.
Mcgarrybowen’s reunion with Verizon last summer came two years after Verizon dismissed the agency, as well as Havas’ Euro RSCG, and parked the bulk of its ad duties at McCann. At the time of its dismissal, mcgarrybowen was lead agency for Verizon’s communications division.
The loss hurt mcgarrybowen both financially and emotionally, 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.