McKinney Wins Virgin Mobile's $30 Million Ad Account

Wireless Carrier Faces Stiff Competition From Larger Players

By Published on .

SAN FRANCISCO ( -- Virgin Mobile USA, facing increasing competition as major carriers push into its prepaid cellphone niche, today named McKinney as agency for its $30 million advertising account.

Virgin Mobile, with 4.6 million customers, is targeted at a youthful audience. McKinney, based in Durham, N.C., includes among its clients Travelocity; the agency developed the Roaming Gnome character for the travel site.

Other accounts at the agency include Brown-Forman Industries' Southern Comfort, Qwest Communications and Select Comfort.

Virgin Mobile faces competition from larger wireless carriers, such as AT&T -- formerly Cingular Wireless -- which heavily advertises its own prepaid plans.

For the first nine month of 2006, Virgin Mobile spent $12 million in measured media and $24 million in 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Mother, New York, was Virgin Mobile's previous agency. The agency did not defend the account.

The marketer did not name others participating in the review. Gilbert Co. is handled the search.
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