Motorola hands account reins to BBDO

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Hello, BBDO.

Motorola, the No. 2 global cellphone maker (Nokia is No. 1), is planning to give the Omnicom-owned agency network control of its $100-million-a-year advertising account, according to executives familiar with the situation. BBDO is to handle account management, distribution and some creative duties, including next week's launch of the Motorola Rokr, the highly-anticipated new phone loaded with Apple iTunes software.

Motorola will also draw on creative concepts from a range of other agencies, working through BBDO as its primary agency partner.

For BBDO, the win comes hot on the heels of a major Omnicom victory in which the agency network played a crucial role. Omnicom last week picked up the $600 million Bank of America marketing account with a lead role from BBDO, which will handle creative for the nation's second-largest bank. It extends a red-hot new-business streak for the agency that also includes recent wins of Mitsubishi, eBay, Levitra and E-Trade.

Motorola is expected to cut ties to incumbent Ogilvy & Mather, whose grip on the account has slackened in recent months. Motorola consolidated its creative account at Ogilvy in 2000.

`HOW MANY...'

Earlier this year, Motorola handed an undisclosed branding assignment to independent Amsterdam 180 amid speculation that Chief Marketing Officer Geoffrey Frost was dissatisfied with the WPP-owned agency's work. He also met with other independent creative shops such as Mother, London and Strawberry Frog, Amsterdam.

A BBDO spokesman declined to comment. An Ogilvy spokeswoman referred calls to Motorola, where a spokeswoman said she would not comment on what she called a "rumor."

Ads for the Rokr phone were created by BBDO. The phone launches Sept. 7 and will operate on the Cingular network, a BBDO client. BBDO's Rokr spots feature music stars such as Madonna, Iggy Pop and possibly 50 Cent. The theme: "How many musicians can you get into a phone booth?"

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