Executives close to both companies said the identity shop is debating whether to keep one or both names or create something totally new, one executive said.
Bell Atlantic and GTE are in the final stages of a merger that will create a telecom giant valued at $70 billion. The deal is expected to be concluded by early next year.
When the deal was first announced in July 1998, the two companies said a new name for the merged entity would be revealed "soon."
At a recent press conference, however, both GTE Chairman-CEO Charles Lee and Bell Atlantic Chairman-CEO Ivan Seidenberg, who will be co-CEOs of the new company, declined to talk about the new name.
They did promise that it would be more than a label or symbol -- it will be a brand.
Because Bell Atlantic shareholders will own 57% of the new company, while GTE will own 43%, it's believed Bell Atlantic is driving the marketing decisions.
An ad agency has not yet been chosen to handle the initial branding campaign, expected to begin after the deal is finalized.
O&M HANDLES GTE
Ogilvy & Mather, New York, handles GTE, while several agencies split the Bell Atlantic business. Lord Group, New York, and Arnold Communications, Boston, handle the bulk of the corporate and business advertising; Bozell, New York, has the Bell Atlantic Mobile wireless business, while Draft Worldwide, Chicago, and Tierney & Partners, Philadelphia, oversee smaller parts of the account.
Zenith Media Services, New York, does all media buying for Bell Atlantic. O&M handles GTE's media.
In 1998, Bell Atlantic spent $225 million in measured media and GTE $118