Verizon Starts Another Review

Verizon Wireless has sent proposal requests to about 20 agencies in the West, Midwest and Southwest for its $40 million Northwest region retail advertising account, sources said.

Agencies in Verizon’s 14-state Northwest region—stretching from St. Louis to Seattle—have received the proposal requests from consultant Wanamaker Associates in Atlanta. Agencies in Texas have also been contacted, sources said. The work is currently held by Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis.

According to the RFP cover letter, duties on the account will be retail-oriented, sources said. “This is a short notice, nights and weekends client,” with promotional, price-focused ads “to fit within existing guidelines,” according to the letter.

Media will be handled by Verizon’s incumbent, Zenith, according to the letter.

Verizon Wireless officials in Bedminster, N.J., referred calls to the regional headquarters in Bellevue, Wash. Regional officials did not return phone calls.

Incumbent Campbell Mithun will likely defend the business, though an agency official said no decision had been made. The agency continues to handle Verizon Wireless’ Southwest regional business, the official said.

CM’s regional pieces of business are the last remnants of what had been the entire Vodaphone AirTouch account. Vodaphone AirTouch merged with Bell South’s and GTE’s wireless divisions to form Verizon Wireless — a separate company from Verizon Communications — last spring.

Hoover’s ranks the company as the No. 1 wireless service provider in the U.S., with more than 26 million customers.

The review had been expected. Sources last spring said CM would lose much of its Vodaphone business once the merger was complete [Adweek, March 20, 2000]. Verizon Wire-less earlier this month awarded its $250 million branding assignment to Bozell in New York without a review [Adweek, Jan. 15].

Bozell handled Verizon’s initial launch over the summer with TV spots featuring the tagline, “Join in.” The work depicts people on cellular phones making a “V” with their index and middle fingers.

The Northwest regional review is the third since the merger. Bates Southwest in Dallas won the company’s South Central regional account in October. Hill, Holliday, Connors Cosmopulos in Boston won the Northeast account in November.