U.S. Cellular Moves to Riney

LOS ANGELES Publicis & Hal Riney has won creative duties on U.S. Cellular, the client confirmed today.

The addition comes as the San Francisco agency finishes its last work on Sprint Nextel, which recently picked Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for creative chores on its $1.2 billion ad account. (Riney handled the business-to-business portion of Sprint’s assignment.)

Independent Doner in Southfield, Mich., was the incumbent on U.S. Cellular, which spent $75 million last year on U.S. ads, per TNS Media Intelligence.

Riney will handle the Chicago-based company’s consumer and b-to-b efforts. Publicis Groupe’s Starcom in Chicago picks up media chores.

The client said in a statement that its “customer satisfaction truly differentiates us in the competitive wireless industry, and we believe the Riney team has the right strengths to help us convey that commitment across our markets.”

“As one reinvents an agency, you have to reinvent the client list, too—[adding] clients who want new ideas,” said Jamie King, Riney’s managing director. This is the first pitch the shop has won since Roger Camp (who last year led the pitch team as a freelancer) came aboard as CCO in February. Other recent client additions for Riney include Altoids and Pinnacle Foods.

“[U.S. Cellular] is a company with a soul,” said King. “They are the number-one ranked wireless [company for] customer service, and at this point they haven’t leveraged that in their advertising. When you think about the category, it is down there with healthcare and cable in customer satisfaction, so the time is ripe.”

Other review contenders could not immediately be determined. Doner did not return calls seeking comment.