Messner Says It Remains Agency of Record for Telecom

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NEW YORK ( -- WorldCom's MCI Group has named Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, New York, to handle its MCI-branded consumer business, which was last advertised in 2000, a spokeswoman for the marketer said.

Deutsch confirmed the assignment. A spokeswoman told, "We are agency of record for MCI branding."

Havas Advertising's Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG continues as agency of record for all other MCI and WorldCom advertising, said Ron Berger, Messner Vetere's CEO and chief creative officer.

$100 million account
The account is estimated at $100 million, according to a person familiar with the matter. MCI's spokeswoman declined to comment on billings or how they would be split between the two agencies. As recently as 1998, MCI's billings were as high as $600 million.

The MCI-branded business has not been heavily advertised since 2000, and a new campaign has been long-awaited.

The spokeswoman for MCI said, "We have chosen Deutsch for their award-winning creative work and integrated advertising campaigns, two skills which we believe will be tremendously powerful in motivating consumers to choose MCI."

A Messner Vetere spokesman said the agency keeps business that does not carry the MCI brand, such as 1-800-Collect, the 10-10-220 long-distance dialing service and its international equivalent, Spanish-language Collect en espanol, rechargeable phone cards and all WorldCom business advertising.

The spokeswoman for Deutsch told that the agency's existing relationship with Verizon SuperPages does not present a conflict issue because MCI branding and Verizon SuperPages "are not competing products."

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