Win Comes Days After Marketer Goes Solo

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, scored a major coup today, winning AT&T Wireless' $400 million advertising account after
a grueling nearly four-month-long review process.

Though Ogilvy was considered the front-runner from the start, the agency was pitted against formidable talent -- Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding, New York.

A pitch, a new campaign
FCB defended the account after its San Francisco office lost it earlier this year. The agency's New York office staged a full-court press to keep the account even as it worked feverishly to create a launch campaign for the newly independent AT&T Wireless.

"We're certainly looking forward to working with O&M, and we greatly value the work that FCB has done with us and for us, we greatly respect their insight," said James Peterson, vice president of corporate communications for AT&T Wireless.

The review, coordinated by MagiKbox, Cos Cob, Conn., came to a head June 29 when the three agency finalists provided summaries of their pitches to AT&T Wireless executives. There were nearly 40 marketing people in attendance at that meeting, including the company's chairman-CEO, John Zeglis.

Preparing for spin-off
The decision-making process dragged on as AT&T Wireless prepared for its July 9 spin-off from AT&T Corp. FCB was notified this morning of the decision and will begin a 90-day transition process to prepare the account for Ogilvy.

Ogilvy was chosen for several reasons, Mr. Peterson said. "Overall, AT&T Wireless just developed a confidence that O&M would be a great member of the team to help us execute a lot of the work we have been doing to build toward being an independent company."

Strong grasp of the future
Mr. Peterson cited the fact that the agency seemed to have a strong grasp of the future for wireless services, and the evolving convergence of the mobile Internet, computing and wireless data. He also cited the agency's portfolio -- including IBM Corp. and Motorola, as well as the scope and scale of the network.

AT&T Wireless spun off from AT&T Corp. July 9. A 30-second TV spot created by Foote Cone, New York, breaks tonight in prime time as the company seeks to lay a framework and brand identity for its newly independent business.

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