Western Wireless, based in Bellevue, Wash., operates mainly in rural areas with 1.2 million customers under the names Western Wireless and Cellular One, the nation's oldest national cell-phone brand. Publicis already handles advertising for the Cellular One Group, a group of 18 licensees of the Cellular One brand. Western Wireless previously had four agencies, none of which participated in the review.
National brand campaign
Publicis, which will create a national brand campaign, won the business after a review that included Interpublic Group of Cos.' Temerlin McClain, Irving, Texas, and independent Hoffman/Lewis, San Francisco.
Neither Publicis, Western Wireless nor the Marketing Group, Seattle, the review consultant, returned calls.
Western Wireless bought 50% of Cellular One Group in 1999 and then acquired Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems' 50% stake in Cellular One Group for $9 million in 2001 when SBC Communications, parent of Southwestern Bell, and BellSouth Corp. consolidated their wireless services under the new Cingular brand. That gave Western 100% ownership in Cellular One Group, which licenses the Cellular One name to local cell-phone providers.