SIRIUS MOVES $100 MILLION ACCOUNT TO MCCANN-ERICKSON

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Sirius Satellite Radio shifted its $100 million account to Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldgroup, New York, from Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, in an effort to consolidate all aspects of its marketing mix under the McCann umbrella.

MRM Partners, New York, which has been working with Sirius for the past year on direct-response and relationship marketing, will be joined by sibling shops McCann-Erickson Advertising, New York, for branding and advertising; Weber Shandwick Worldwide, New York, for public relations; and Momentum, New York, for event marketing.

McCann-Erickson has been in talks with Sirius for about a month and a half. Goodby executives did not return calls for comment at press time. "We made the decision to consolidate our program under what had been a growing, existing relationship, because it just made more sense to put everything under the McCann umbrella," a Sirius spokeswoman said. "This is not a decision that was based on creative as a result of Goodby. This is a business decision that was the result of a great relationship [with MRM]."

Sirius' move shows the increasing importance of marketing services in today's marketplace, with direct and relationship marketing shops taking lead roles in agency holding companies, and bringing in business to sibiling shops. Sherri Phillips, senior vice president and group director at MRM, will lead the integrated WorldGroup team. It is estimated McCann-Erickson Worldwide will handle about half of the $100 million account.

Sirius, which is scheduled to launch its subscription-based, digital-quality satellite radio service to consumers late in the fourth quarter, said the account shift will not delay its plans.

"[MRM] was very entrenched in the business to begin with, so it's not going to affect our plans in terms of the rollout of our marketing or our plans for our consumer launch," the Sirius spokeswoman said, adding that the retail launch will be supported by in-store advertising, direct and relationship marketing, events, promotions and print, with national TV ads from McCann-Erickson breaking in early 2002.

Sirius' rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings this week begins the rollout of its consumer service. Ads broke last month from Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif.

Staff writer Lisa Sanders contributed to this report.

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