AT&T DIALS UP D'ARCY FOR MEDIA BUYING ROSTER

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AT&T dealt a new player into its media buying game last week while redistributing assignments previously handled by Ogilvy & Mather.

While the bulk of the long-distance marketer's estimated $230 million in buying responsibilities went to New York agencies already on the AT&T roster, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles' Televest unit won about $20 million in daytime buying duties.

N W Ayer's the Media Edge took away the biggest piece of the pie, with about $160 million in network media buying on TV news, prime time, early morning, late night and syndication, plus TV specials with multiple sponsors.

Young & Rubicam lost daytime TV to Televest and in turn, Y&R won as much as $50 million in new media buying duties for sports and cable TV, plus single-sponsor TV specials.

AT&T also designated Y&R its global agency of record for media buying as well as the shop for its Global Business Communications Systems, including telephone equipment and systems. Y&R will handle corporate and consumer long-distance media buying for Asia and Latin America, while McCann-Erickson Worldwide will handle the same duties for all European advertising.

Insiders say Televest could provide a channel for DMB&B to win more business, and that the agency eventually may be allowed to participate in AT&T creative pitches.

The addition of DMB&B signals AT&T's growing restlessness, while MCI Communications Corp. is generating intensive competition with ads created solely by Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG.

"It's no longer as cozy an atmosphere as it was among AT&T's agencies a few years ago. You get the feeling there may be one of these reviews every year," said an executive at one agency involved in the review.

The media buying realignment was spurred by O&M's resignation from AT&T's account after winning IBM Corp. earlier this year. While redistributing O&M's assignments, AT&T was also seeking the most efficient use of its resources, said Dick Martin, VP-corporate advertising.

FCB/Leber Katz Partners participated in the review but did not win any new media buying assignments. The agency continues as AT&T's lead agency for consumer long-distance media buying; McCann-Erickson is AT&T's lead agency for business advertising media buying.

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