Bell Atlantic Picks La Agencia de Orci

Bell Atlantic Corp., New York, has selected La Agencia de Orci & Asociados, Los Angeles, to handle its Hispanic advertising assignment, a task that will include direct response television elements.

Bell Atlantic, the second-largest U.S. telephone company, picked La Agencia after a lengthy review of Hispanic agencies narrowed the list to five finalists. Details on billings were not available.

The agency began work on the account in early November and will handle all advertising for the Hispanic market for Bell Atlantic's corporate, consumer telecommunications and long-distance accounts. La Agencia also will handle media buying for the company, which operates 40 million access lines in 12 Northeastern states and Washington, DC.

The advertising, which is in a strategic development phase, will begin early next year. Though details are not yet settled, direct response television will be a key component of La Agencia's work for Bell Atlantic, said Roberto Orci, the agency's president. La Agencia is looking into direct TV on the Univision Telemundo network, which targets the Latino market, as well as cable television.

Additionally, television advertising will be used to soften the Northeastern Hispanic market for direct response mail, for which La Agencia will turn to Bell Atlantic's large customer database. The agency also will handle internal Bell Atlantic communication dealing with Hispanic marketing.

La Agencia has operated independently since 1986 and is a founding member of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies. Its other clients include Allstate Insurance, American Honda, California Commerce Bank, Hormel Foods and the Mexico-based Economic Development Council of Sonora.

The firm may use bilingual rather than Spanish-only mailings for Bell Atlantic to avoid accidentally targeting English-speaking customers who have Spanish surnames. Some, but not all, of Bell Atlantic's Spanish-speaking customers have indicated that they want to receive their statements and other correspondence in Spanish.

La Agencia replaces HeadQuarters Advertising, San Francisco, on the account. Bell Atlantic works with several creative agencies, including Arnold Communications, Burrell Communications Group, Draft Worldwide, The Lord Group, and Tierney and Partners. The company began its search for a Hispanic ad agency in late August.

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