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Comcast Appoints Stone & Ward

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Cable giant Comcast has awarded its media buying and public relations duties in Arkansas to Stone & Ward.

The account's annual budget is just under $1 million, according to the client.

Other finalists in the review for the business included Little Rock, Ark., shops Mangan Holcomb Rainwater Culpepper, The Communications Group and solo practitioner Craig Rains.

Comcast's other local markets were not up for review. The company is nearing completion of a $50 million upgrade of its cable infrastructure in central Arkansas, and plans to begin courting subscribers in the area more aggressively.

"Product awareness is particularly important to us at this time," said Bill Black, a Comcast representative in the company's Detroit-based western division. "Arkansas is a key market for us."

Comcast will specifically try to increase awareness of its cable-based "always on" Internet access technology, which competes with DSL providers.

According to S&W director of new business development Kim Evans, the Little Rock agency "has been trying to be more involved in the high-tech arena, so [Comcast] fits nicely with where we want to go."

Earle Palmer Brown in Philadelphia and Red Tettemer in Narberth, Pa., have both handled national branding for Comcast.

The Philadelphia-based company is one of the largest cable companies in the U.S. It currently has more than 8 million subscribers.