VERIZON PUTS SUPERPAGES ACCOUNT IN REVIEW

Incumbent Deutsch Recently Won MCI Branding Work

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Verizon Communications' Verizon Information Services, Dallas, is launching a review for its SuperPages business, a spokeswoman for Verizon SuperPages said today.

The search was apparently prompted by incumbent Deutsch's Feb. 5 win of WorldCom's MCI Group's MCI-branded consumer business. The Interpublic Group of Cos. shop, based in New York, has had the account since March 2001.

At the time the

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win was announced, Deutsch executives said the agency's existing relationship with Verizon SuperPages did not present a conflict issue because MCI branding and Verizon SuperPages "are not competing products."

Verizon SuperPages spokeswoman Stephanie Hobbs would not comment directly on the matter. A representative for Deutsch referred all calls to the client.

Ms. Hobbs said Verizon is in the process of hiring a search consultant and that the unit is looking for an agency "that can handle the full spectrum of integrated marketing, from broadcast to direct mail."

The business includes media planning and creative. The review is expected to be completed within 90 days.

Ms. Hobbs declined to specify spending on the account. For SuperPages, Verizon spent an estimated $16.5 million in measured media in the U.S. from January through October 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. It spend an estimated $25.9 million in 2000.

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