Richards Goes On Dime Time For Excel-Telco

The Richards Group here defeated at least five other agencies for a $25-30 million assignment to promote Excel Communications’ 10-10-297 dial-around long-distance service.
Richards will be assigned to expand the current “Fine print” campaign from incumbent EMM Creative [Adweek, Feb. 15] of Bethesda, Md., for 18 spot markets in both television and direct mail. The selling point for the dial-around service, operated by the company’s Telco retail unit, will continue to be the 10 cents per minute rate, with no minimum call times or hidden charges, according to Excel.
“I think with what other carriers have brought to the table, because of some of their practices, I think our product speaks for itself,” said Ken Myers, director of consumer marketing at Excel’s Dallas headquarters.
EMM will retain Hispanic marketing chores for the $4 billion company, which is the nation’s fourth-largest long-distance carrier behind AT&T, Sprint and MCI/Worldcom. Officials would not disclose other shops competing for the business.
Principal Stan Richards said his agency did not pitch any specific ideas to Excel during the review. He believes his staff can capitalize on Excel’s straightforward pricing.
“I think consumers are experiencing lots of frustration with dial-arounds,” said Richards. “Excel’s going to be a nice, clear, simple product.”
Steve Richards, vice president of consumer marketing at Excel, has told Adweek that dial-around services represent “the vast majority of revenue streams in terms of the projection of growth opportunity” for the company.
Myers said Excel is also seeking to expand into other telecom offerings such as card services, collect call numbers and local phone amenities. The Richards Group will be considered for those accounts when they become available, he said.
Excel is owned by Teleglobe of Canada.