Verizon Wireless Consolidates Local Marketing Ad Duties

Hill Holliday, Global Hue and Zenith Named Agencies for $135 Million Business

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A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.

SAN FRANCISCO (Adage.com) -- Verizon Wireless today consolidated agencies for all its local advertising efforts, naming Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill Holliday Connors Cosmopulos agency for strategy and creative. The account will be split between Hill Holliday's Erwin-Penland unit, formerly the marketer's agency for the southern U.S., and Hill Holliday's New York office, formerly the agency covering the Northeast.
Before today's consolidation, eight agencies in six markets had handled Verizon Wireless' local accounts.
Before today's consolidation, eight agencies in six markets had handled Verizon Wireless' local accounts.

Multicultural, media
In addition, the New York office of Global Hue, Verizon Wireless' multicultural agency for national advertising, will add duties as the lead multicultural agency for local markets. Publicis Groupe's Zenith will handle account service and creative support to advertising in the marketer's local markets nationwide.

Executives close to the business say the local marketing account is worth $135 million.

In May, Verizon Communications named Zenith agency for national media buying for corporate and wireless advertising. Zenith also handles local and regional media planning and buying. Interpublic's Universal McCann handles national planning duties.

Before today's consolidation, eight agencies in six markets had handled Verizon Wireless' local accounts. Among the shops no longer involved in the business are Interpublic's Campbell Mithun, the agency for Verizon's Western region, and O2 Ideas, agency for the Midwest, as well as multicultural shops La Gente de RLR, Latinvox and Moroch.

"With this lineup of agency talent, we will enhance our national branding and advertising efforts with an even stronger coordinated effort on the local level," Mike Lanman, VP-chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless, said in a statement.

Recent account moves
In the past Verizon's landline and wireless units each used a full roster of agencies. In May, however, Verizon unified marketing for the units and shifted its $1.9 billion advertising and media accounts to a handful of agencies to save money and develop an integrated marketing effort across all Verizon brands. Some 20 creative and media buying shops were whittled down to 10, with Interpublic's McCann Worldgroup, agency for wireless, named the agency for combined creative.

Verizon Communications, which marketed landline telephone service and more recently launched its Fios high-speed fiber optic network, shares ownership of Verizon Wireless with the Vodafone Group, which owns 45% of the company.

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Brooke Capps contributed to this report.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Erwin-Penland had been awarded the entire local marketing account from Verizon Wireless. In addition, the New York office of Global Hue will handle the lead multicultural duties, not the agency's Detroit headquarters.
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