Mullen experienced a windfall last week when client Nextel Communications consolidated its ad account at the Wenham, Mass., shop.
Mullen won the corporate ad assignment of the cellular phone service carrier in November 1996, but a handful of smaller shops continued to manage local advertising in 12 markets across the country.
"Mullen has proven . . . to be incredibly resourceful and efficient in two of our most active markets: New York and Texas," said Nextel's chief marketing officer Tom Kelly, who cited the shop's "successful track record" as a key reason for the consolidation.
The agency plans to assign about 14 account personnel to service Nextel's major markets, including Atlanta, Seattle and Washington, D.C., said Mullen president Joe Grimaldi. The shop also plans to recruit additional staffers and is evaluating whether to open service offices, Grimaldi said.
"The whole idea here is to build the brand nationally," Grimaldi said. "Having Mullen be the agency across the board represents the most effective way to achieve that outcome. This is a tremendous opportunity to create a relationship of a higher order."
Grimaldi declined to reveal billings. The account was initially estimated to be worth $15 million in billings when Mullen won the corporate ad assignment. Competitive Media Reporting pegged media spending for the first half of 1997 at $12.3 million.
Mullen's first national branding campaign for Nextel, which included TV and radio spots, print executions and outdoor ads, broke in March with the tagline, "Get smart. Get Nextel."