WPP Agency Edges Out Starcom

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Sprint Nextel has consolidated its $745 million media buying and planning business at WPP Group’s MindShare, the marketer said.
MindShare was Nextel's media agency, while Starcom worked on Sprint. MindShare has now won the consolidated media account of the two merged telecoms.
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Decision follows merger
The decision, made months after Sprint and Nextel completed their merger, follows a review of the telecom giant's roster agencies. MindShare has handled media duties for Nextel, while Publicis Groupe’s Starcom worked on Sprint.

For the first 11 months of 2005, Sprint Nextel spent $745 million on measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

A Sprint spokeswoman said the business previously was divided into two pieces, Starcom with the larger consumer piece and MindShare with the business portion of the account. MindShare also will pick up the online portion of Sprint's business.

'Strategically aligned'
"Both agencies made a tremendous contribution and commitment to our business, but we needed to be strategically aligned," she said. "Sprint now has a centralized marketing organization instead of a business-unit marketing organization and it made sense to centralize the media buying," she said, noting that Starcom did "an exceptional job" helping with the merger of the Sprint and Nextel brands. She said the transition will take place over the next 30 to 45 days.

She said the merged company is looking throughout its supply chain of both legacy Nextel and Sprint shops for efficiencies. However, she said it is unlikely at this time that Sprint is looking at a consolidation of its creative account.

Creative ad work
In June, Sprint chose TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, for consumer advertising and the Omnicom Group-owned agency crafted a campaign around the tagline "Yes, you can."

Business-to-business work was assigned to Publicis's Publicis & Hal Riney.

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