Ingalls has reconnected to the telecommunications market, winning branding chores for Rural Cellular in Alexandria, Minn., after a review.
Scott Donlea, the company's vice president of sales and marketing, confirmed that a contract between Rural Cellular and Ingalls is in the works and may be finalized as soon as this week.
Ingalls bested mainly Minneapolis-area shops in a competition run by Chicago-based management consulting firm Jones-Lundin Associates, sources said. Donlea declined to disclose contenders.
The budget is expected to be in excess of $5 million and could be as high as $10 million, sources said.
Ad-Media in Augusta, Maine, KSV in Burlington, Vt., and Russell & Herder in Brainerd, Minn., have worked on regional assignments for the client and may be retained for some portion of the business, Donlea said.
KSV official Yoram Samets said his shop is still on board for ads supporting Rural Cellular's service in Vermont and upstate New York. Executives at Ad-Media and R&H could not be reached.
Spending at Ingalls to some extent depends on whether the incumbents, which were not considered for the larger branding effort, are retained.
Ingalls officials declined comment, but sources said the shop is already working on creative and media plans.
Rural Cellular wants Ingalls to bolster its image and build name recognition against better-known competitors such as Bell Atlantic and US West, sources said. Ads will likely break in the second quarter in New England, upstate New York and Midwest markets where the company provides cellular and paging service, sources said.
Ingalls was hired based mainly on the strength of its short-lived TV branding campaign for Citizens Communications, Stamford, Conn. Those ads, which aired two years ago, used the tag, "Being human," and focused on customer service. Citizens' budget has dwindled in recent years, and the client left Ingalls last year for Dixon Schwabl Advertising, Pittsford, N.Y.