$50 Million Virgin Mobile Acct. in Review

NEW YORK At least four agencies are competing for creative duties on Virgin Mobile USA’s estimated $50 million account, sources said.

The review, which began a few weeks ago, is being handled by New York-based consultancy Gilbert Taney Farlie.

Leagas Delaney in San Francisco has handled the account since November 2001, when they won the assignment to create a campaign for the service launch after a review. It could not immediately be determined if that shop would defend, but sources said it was unlikely since the San Francisco-based client is looking specifically for an East Coast shop.

The reason is new USA CEO Dan Schulman, who joined the company late last year and works from an office In Warren, N.J. Sources said he wants an agency within easy travel distance. The U.K.-based company was started by Richard Branson.

Agencies are making presentations to the client next week, sources said.

Virgin Mobile spent $8 million in media in the last five months of 2002, per CMR. Sources said the company is gearing up for a substantial push to capture market share among youth in the wireless category.

Don Gilbert of Gilbert Taney Farley could not be reached for comment. A message left at the client’s New Jersey office was not returned by press time.

Palisades Media Group in Santa Monica, Calif., won media duties on the account in November 2002 after a review.