Direct marketing track record will be a key factor when Atlanta-headquartered telecoms giant BellSouth names the victor from the surviving quartet in its current review of its $120 million advertising and marketing account.

The final foursome comprises New York shops Grey Advertising and Merkley Newman Harty & Partners, as well as Dallas-based The Richards Group and Arnold Worldwide in Boston.

BellSouth’s Yellow Pages business, held by WestWayne in Atlanta, is excluded from the review which is being conducted under the baton of local search consultancy Wanamaker Associates.

Separately, the Walt Disney Company has axed three of the six hopefuls racing for its estimated $500m media buying business. Out go WPP’s The Media Edge, plus Omnicom duo Creative Media (New York) partnered by sister-shop TBWA\Chiat\Day, Playa del Rey, California.

The remaining contestants – incumbent Initiative Media North America (Los Angeles), Bcom3's Starcom, Chicago; and Zenith Media, New York – will each be presented with a project assignment prior to final grillings in November.

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