Verizon Keeps Fios Ad Business With McCann

Must-Win Review Keeps Estimated $300 Million in Billings With Interpublic Shop

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Verizon is sticking with incumbent McCann Erickson, New York, for its Fios business after a review, according to executives familiar with the matter.

The decision is sure to be a relief for the Interpublic Group of Cos. agency, which lost the sizable Verizon Wireless creative business to Dentsu's McGarryBowen in April. McCann pitched against McGarryBowen for Fios, as well as Interpublic sibling Martin Agency. The work is said to have been put through testing in order for Verizon to reach its decision.< /p>

Billings for McCann on the account are estimated at $300 million. Verizon did not immediately return calls or e-mails for comment. Agency representatives either referred calls to Verizon or could not be reached.

With the move, Verizon seems to have award the latest point to McCann in what appears to be a shootout between the agency and McGarryBowen. Last September, Verizon decided to skip over McCann to tap McGarryBowen for the launch of its Droid phone, which represented nearly $100 million in billings for the shop.

Retaining the Fios business has most likely averted at least some staff cuts at McCann. Two people familiar with the situation had estimated "double-digit" staff cuts had McCann lost both Verizon accounts.

Verizon is the No. 2 national advertiser, according to Ad Age's DataCenter, with a U.S. budget of $3.7 billion in 2009. The telecom is one of Interpublic's five biggest clients.

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