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OMD's Role Reduced to Newspaper and Radio Buying

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NEW YORK ( -- Cingular Wireless has shifted portions of its $1 billion media-buying and -planning account from Omnicom Group's OMD to WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia, according to executives familiar with the matter.
OMD retains newspaper and radio buying.

In a statement issued today, Cingular said it "inherited two agencies following the acquisition of AT&T Wireless and we are keeping OMD and Mediaedge on our roster, both with substantial portions of our business."

Strategic decision-making
However, executives familiar with the situation said that following the merger, each media company pitched for the business. Mediaedge:cia won all strategic decision-making for media, including planning, and all broadcast media.

Going forward, Mediaedge:cia will handle 60% of the account, with OMD retaining the remainder. OMD will handle newspaper and radio buying, while Mediaedge:cia will handle other media, including TV and outdoor, according to an executive close to the situation.

According to TNS Media Intelligence, Cingular in 2004 spent $336.5 million on TV advertising, or 40.4% of its budget, while it spent $428.4 million on newspaper advertising, or 51.4% of its budget. Radio accounted for $12.8 million in spending, or 1.5%. Other categories included magazines, $27.7 million or 3.3%; Internet, $20 million or 2.4%; and outdoor, $8 million or 1%.

Creative was not part of the review at this time, one executive familiar with the situation said.

Post-merger campaign
The largest wireless company has been bombarding the airwaves with ads since federal regulators approved its merger with AT&T Wireless last October. The campaign, with the tagline "Raising the bar" and touting the network's coverage, is crafted by Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide.

Prior to the merger, Mediaedge:cia was AT&T Wireless's media agency.

An OMD representative referred calls to Cingular. Mediaedge:cia executives could not be reached for comment.

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