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McKinney Gets Network Job

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Picks Up $20 Mil. Assignment for Nextlink's Broadband System
ATLANTA--Nextlink Communications, a rapidly growing broadband service provider looking to take on telecom giants like AT&T and MCI Worldcom, has hired McKinney & Silver to build its national brand identity.
The Raleigh, N.C., agency bested Grey Worldwide and J. Walter Thompson Interactive, both in New York, as well as Mullen, Wenham, Mass., to win the estimated $20 million business -to-business account.
"McKinney has a very strong creative reputation," said Todd Wol-fenbarger, Nextlink's vice president of corporate communications. "Like us, they're customer-centric and unique in their business approach."
The incumbent, Copacino in Seattle, the site of Nextlink's original corporate headquarters, did not participate in the review.
"We moved to the East Coast earlier this year," said Wolfenbarger. "So we were definitely interested in national branding. We wanted the strongest people we could find."
He refused to elaborate on specific creative or media strategies.
"McKinney's first charge is to start building a national brand," Wolfenbarger said.
Founded in 1994 and run by former MCI president Dan Ackerson, Nextlink, now based in McLean, Va, has assembled a fiber optic and wireless broadband network operating in almost 50 U.S. cities. Its reach will expand to 60 cities as well as major Canadian and European markets by year's end.
The acquisition last month of the Concentric Network Corp, a $2.4 billion stock swap, adds Web-hosting and Internet-driven capabilities such as virtual private networks to Nextlink's mix of services.
Subscribers to Nextlink's data services range from small businesses to international corporations such as Federal Express, Nike and Gap Inc.
"Nextlink has made moves over the last several months that will allow us to compete effectively against any of the giants in our industry," said Ackerson, chairman and chief executive officer of the company. K