BELLSOUTH PUTS $200 MILLION ACCOUNT IN REVIEW

29 Agencies Receive Requests for Proposals

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- BellSouth Corp. has put its estimated $200 million advertising account into review, a spokesman for the company said.

News about a request for proposals for a telecom client first broke Sept. 17 on AdAge.com.

The request for proposal was issued to 29 agencies on Sept. 7 asking for assistance with strategic brand planning, creative development, media planning, general market and ethnic creative duties. The request also extends to electronic, Internet, database and direct response marketing, as well as strategic counsel, competitive tracking and analysis.

Media buying is not part of the review, which is being spearheaded by Wanamaker Associates, Atlanta.

Omnicom Group's Merkley Newman Harty, New York, and WestWayne, Atlanta, the incumbents, are among the agencies that have received the requests. Initiative Media, Atlanta, handles the telecom's media buying and planning.

William Pate, vice president of advertising and public relations for Atlanta-based BellSouth, will lead the review. Agencies were required to complete questionnaires by today.

BellSouth will narrow the list of agencies, then begin a credentialing process. Meetings with agencies are not expected to take place until October. A decision is likely before year's end.

The $80 billion company serves nine Southeastern states with 25 million access lines and offers voice, data and broadband services. BellSouth owns 40% of Cingular Wireless; Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide, New York and Atlanta, handles Cingular advertising.

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