Virgin Mobile Picks MPG, Media Contacts

NEW YORK Virgin Mobile USA has awarded its media planning and buying account to Havas’ MPG North America and Media Contacts after a review, the client has confirmed. The assignment is effective immediately. 

The client spent around $15 million on ads during the first 10 months of 2008, per Nelsen Monitor-Plus, which was roughly in line with full-year ’07 spending.

The incumbent was Durham, N.C., independent McKinney, which defended, and continues to handle creative chores, not part of the review. (McKinney bought itself back from Havas last year.)

According to Bob Stohrer, CMO of Virgin Mobile: “Consolidating our online and offline media planning and buying services in one place will be more efficient and effective for us. Given their proven track record and the extensive capabilities included in MPG and Media Contacts’ offering, we’re confident they’ll achieve a considerable increase in the integration and impact of our marketing messages.”

MPG chief operating officer Steve Lanzano said: “This win presents MPG and Media Contacts with an opportunity to help further the growth of a premier company in the wireless mobile service category.”

MPG’s other recent new-business wins include Carnival Cruise Lines, Jones Apparel and Swarovski.