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Leslie Is a Match for AirGate

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Gains Creative, Media Duties for Wireless Specialist in 3 States
ATLANTA--AirGate PCS, a Sprint USA affiliate, has assigned its creative and media duties to the Leslie Agency in its battle for cellular market share in the Carolinas and coastal Georgia.
"Leslie buys more media than any other agency in our local markets," said Leslie Rothman, director of marketing operations at AirGate PCS.
The fast-growing cell phone market is aggressively contested.
"It's going to be touch and go competitively," said Carlos Jimenez, agency president. "The whole area is growing like crazy. All the PCS companies are setting up shop."
The Greenville, S.C.-based agency, with $62 million in annual billings, will handle media buys, strategic planning, creative and public relations duties for Atlanta-based AirGate.
Finalists in the all-South Carolina review included Leslie and Henderson Advertising of Greenville and Charleston's Rawle Murdy.
Leslie's experience and a client base that matched the wireless service provider's target markets were big factors in the $5 million account win.
"They matched our footprint perfectly," said Rothman.
Hundreds of Radio Shack, Circuit City, Bi-Lo supermarkets and First Citizens Bank locations--all candidates for cross-promotional tie-ins--are already on Leslie's books.
Another value-added factor, said Rothman, was the agency's "personalized" pitching. "They ran a video introducing us to their in-house specialists for Savannah [Ga.], Charleston and other markets."
Leslie group creative director Russ Corvey also worked on ads for Sprint rival Bell Atlantic Mobile.
Leslie's initial assignments start with media buys and promotions across second-tier cities, then will piggyback onto Sprint advertising sweeps targeting the region. (Sprint PCS is said to be the nation's fastest-growing wireless provider.)
"When there's a major push," said Jimenez, "we'll localize it with local celebrities or sponsor weather re-
ports. We'll bring this thing to the street level."
With the battle for cellular dominance winding down in the metropolitan areas, the struggle for market share in less populated areas has heated up, escalating into a house-to-house, business-to-business war.
"We're going in and finding out who doesn't have a phone and who is about to buy one," said Jimenez. "They'll all be hearing from us." K