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By Published on .

The concept of "bundling" has become the rage in cutting-edge telecommunications marketing.

Chris Mannella, VP-brand marketing at MCI Communications Corp., understood this from the beginning and helped create such a product for the country's No.*2 long-distance player.

Dubbed MCI One, the product offers a package of various communications services including long-distance, calling cards, Internet access, e-mail, cellular and paging-available on one bill. While most telcos are still racing to bring similar bundled products to market, MCI unveiled MCI One in May 1996.

The marketer is estimated to have already spent more than $15 million in promoting the product, which boasts about 2 million subscribers.

Rolled out in stages, MCI One advertising first focused on a simple "box" theme, which featured the actual hardware that comprises the bundled package. Last June, MCI agency Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York, unveiled a series of TV spots that showed how people use the service. Commercials told short stories of an executive conducting business from the golf course; a sick child trying to contact her mother; and two young people trying to schedule a date.

"We're trying to grow the MCI One brand as rapidly as possible," says Mr. Mannella. "While ads don't specifically feature the MCI One product, we are highlighting all the capabilities that MCI One offers."

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