Named the agency for WorldCom's estimated $10 million account earlier this year, the Bethesda, Md.-based shop has created print, radio and TV advertising that features WorldCom spokesman Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls superstar who signed what's believed to be a 10-year deal with the fourth-largest U.S. long-distance provider.
"We've done an extremely effective job building a brand for WorldCom this year," said Gail Blount, director of sales and marketing.
WorldCom plans to launch new TV advertising early next year, targeted primarily to the business market.
Upon completion of the deal-expected in four to six months-the new MFS WorldCom can offer long-distance, local and Internet access services to business customers nationwide, posing a threat to the regional Bell operating companies that have enjoyed a monopoly until now.
MFS has never had an agency of record and traditionally has relied on sales and broader marketing functions to promote its telecommunications services.
Last year, however, the company tapped Cadwell Davis Partners, New York, to create a test program, since discontinued.
TOO SOON TO TELL
"It's really too early to speculate on how the merger may affect marketing functions," Ms. Blount said. "It seems unlikely that marketing positions within any of the companies will be pared down.... WorldCom has taken a quantuum leap forward this year and, if anything, we'll need all the talent and skills at our command to support the new company going forward."
Internet access provider Uunet Corp., a recent acquisition of MFS, is expected to maintain its brand. Uunet named Donino & Partners, Atlanta, as its agency a year ago and, in March, rolled out a $4 million print and TV effort to brand its Internet services.
Contributing: Jane Hodges, Laura Petrecca.