VERIZON WIRELESS NARROWS REVIEW TO THREE

JWT, Arnold, McCann Chase National Creative Assignment

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Verizon Wireless has narrowed the review for the creative portion of its national advertising account to three agencies.

WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, New York; Havas' Arnold Worldwide, Boston; and Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, are competing for the account, according to a company spokeswoman.

Consultant Pile & Co., Boston, is conducting

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the review.

Billings were undisclosed, although Verizon spent $828 million in advertising in 2002 and $751 milllion for the first 10 months of 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligency CMR. National advertising accounted for an estinated $400 million in 2003.

Spokeswoman Brenda Raney said the marketer hoped the review would be concluded "as expeditiously as possible," although no specific date had been set.

Interpublic's Lowe, New York, the incumbent, is not participating in the review. Verizon Wireless' ad campaign, started in 2002, features the "Test Man" character, created by now defunct Bozell; the account shifted to Lowe, New York, in early 2003 after Interpublic merged the two shops.

Bedminster, N.J.-based Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications and the Vodafone Group. While it's the leading cell phone carrier, with 5 million customers at the end of 2003, two competitors, Cingular and AT&T Wireless, announced a merger. If approved by the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission, the merged companies would eclipse Verizon as the leading U.S. wireless carrier.

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