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$30 Mil. Virgin Mobile to McKinney

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NEW YORK Virgin Mobile today said it has awarded its estimated $30 million creative account to McKinney, a Havas-owned agency in Durham, N.C.

"McKinney best demonstrated they understand the Virgin Mobile brand and how to build on our current momentum, and we're excited to have them as our partners," said Howard Handler, CMO at Virgin Mobile USA, in a statement. The wireless company recently announced it has more than 4.6 million customers.

Independent Mother, a New York agency, handled the business since winning the assignment in a review last January.

Mother had declined an invitation to defend in the most recent competition. Publicis Groupe's StarLink in Chicago handles media buying duties, which were not included in the contest.

The client had hired consultancy the Gilbert Co. to manage the process; Gilbert guided the 2005 move from Publicis' Fallon to Mother after the New York office of Fallon shut down.

Mother in a January statement said it was "proud to have contributed to the fantastic growth of the Virgin Mobile business over the last 18 months."

The agency's best-known work for the client debuted during December and encouraged consumers to have "a bleepin' awesome holiday season."