Beats Two Shops for $15 Million Account

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NEW YORK ( -- Western Wireless awarded its estimated $15 million account to Publicis Groupe's Publicis in Mid America, Dallas, according to executives close to the matter.

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.