Laughlin Extends Its National Guard Perimeter In Winning Review For LCI Phone Card Projects

Venturing out beyond its National Guard account, Laughlin, Marinaccio & Owens in Arlington, Va., defeated five agencies to land the prepaid phone card business of LCI International.
Mark Welton, LCI vice president of enhanced services, said the account would be handled on a project basis, adding, “We think it’s going to be very long term.” He would not specify a budget, although sources previously estimated spending at $5 million [Adweek, April 20].
Laughlin, Marinaccio & Owens (LM&O) prevailed over Virginia shops Demaine Vickers in Alexandria and E. James White in Herndon, Goldberg.Marchesano.Partners in Washington, D.C., and two undisclosed contenders.
“We set out to find an agency that could actually become a partner, an extension of our in-house staff,” Welton said. “We wanted someone who would live and breathe the product.”
Welton described the account as entailing “more marketing than advertising” for its prepaid phone cards, which are distributed through retail outlets. LM&O will handle LCI’s existing products, “Say LCI” and “Global Say LCI,” as well as “a new technology we’re launching in June,” Welton said.
LCI’s lead agency, Ron Foth Advertising in Columbus, Ohio, will assist on the account as well.
LM&O was formed in fall 1995 when Bozell Worldwide’s Washington, D.C., office was bought by Doug Laughlin, now president of LM&O; David Marinaccio, creative director; and Ronald Owens, director of client services [Adweek, Oct. 9, 1995].
Last year LM&O was busy fending off agencies to retain its National Guard account, which makes up the bulk of the shop’s $17.5 million in billings. Now? “We’re into broadening our horizons,” Laughlin said, and the LCI assignment is “a wonderful step forward.”