Ex-Client Ties Attract Mississippi Telecom: Cellular South Moves to Fricks/Firestone

Benefitting once again from partner and creative director Elliot Firestone’s prior account experience, Fricks/Firestone here added Cellular South to its roster.
The Jackson, Miss.-based cellular service provider has an ad budget of $2-4 million, per the client’s marketing director, Carroll Blackledge.
Fricks/Firestone landed the business without a review. Instead, Jack Trout, president of marketing consultancy Trout & Partners in Greenwich, Conn., recommended the shop to the client.
For the last five years, Cellular South has used Broderick/Bates Advertising, also in Jackson. The client’s growth, however, required “a larger agency with more resources,” Blackledge said.
Although Fricks/Firestone has never served a telecom client, the agency tapped into Elliot Firestone’s seven years as creative director on the BellSouth business at Atlanta’s Tucker Wayne/Luckie & Co., now WestWayne. In addition, Fricks/Firestone’s account planning director, Cynthia Price, previously worked as director of advertising for BellSouth’s small business division.
Cellular South provides service to just over half of Mississippi and faces competition from five telecom firms. Fricks/Firestone’s first mission is to help the client craft a positioning strategy. A campaign including TV, print, radio, outdoor and direct mail is expected to launch this fall.
In 1998, Fricks/Firestone will create new advertising for the client’s bundled local, long-distance and cellular services package called Telapak, which debuted last spring.
Agency president John Fricks said Fricks/Firestone is going through a transformation since bringing aboard Firestone two years ago. “We’ve been trying to remold ourselves around the fact that we have a real powerhouse creative [talent],” Fricks said.
Earlier this summer, the shop lured Papa John’s national creative account away from The Richards Group in Dallas–thanks mostly to Firestone’s previous ties to the client, again from his tenure at Tucker Wayne.
Recently, Fricks/Firestone laid off five junior-level employees from various divisions, enabling it to recruit new creative talent.