The company's previous limited Hispanic activity was handled by Ornelas, an independent Dallas-based Hispanic shop. Spike DDB is Alltel's first African-American agency. The telecom covers the Southeast and urban areas such as Cleveland.
No budget figure
No budget figure was available for the new work, but Alltel, based in Little Rock, Ark., spends about $70 million a year in general market advertising.
In the Hispanic market, telecommunications is one of the biggest-spending categories. According to a recent study commissioned by the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, telecommunications was the sixth-biggest-spending category for both the Hispanic and the general market in 2003. Hispanic TV and print spending by telecom marketers totaled $236 million, or 7.3% of total ad expenditure in the category. There are no comparable figures for the African-American market.
Omnicom Group's DDB became Alltel's main general market creative agency last year.
Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency, Alltel's media planning and buying shop, will handle multicultural media, he said.
No 'structured' review
"We did do some informal talking to other agencies but there was no structured review," said Paul Sage, Alltel's director of marketing communications. "We didn't see other capabilities that exceeded those of the DDB partners." He said working with the three DDB agencies has other advantages, such as shared account planning.
"We're looking at doing African-American-targeted radio and print," Mr. Sage said. "And you don't hire Spike DDB without potentially looking at doing TV."