Kelliher Scores Rural Cellular

Kelliher Samets Volk has added the consolidated advertising account of Rural Cellular. Estimated annual billings are $10 million, said Barbara Ostrander, marketing communications manager for Rural Cellular.

Burlington, Vt.-based KSV, which had already handled a portion of the account, was selected after a review among Rural Cellular roster shops. KSV bested Meyocks & Priebe, Des Moines, Iowa; Mandala, Bend, Ore.; Lewis Communications, Mobile, Ala.; and Garrand & Co., Lewiston, Maine, Ostrander said. A final shootout took place between Mandala and KSV, she said.

“It’s a confirmation of the great work we’ve been doing for [the client] over the past five years,” said Yoram Samets, managing director of KSV.

The agency takes over all promotional and media advertising activities for the client in the various regions in which it does business. KSV will create broadcast, print, radio, in-store and direct mail work for the client. Print and radio work is expected to break in July, with TV ads appearing in late summer.

KSV has developed the theme line, “Part of life here,” for Rural Cellular’s upcoming campaigns. The company’s old tagline was “Clear across America.” Past work consisted primarily of print and radio with some TV, which will play a larger role in upcoming campaigns. Past and future ads induce customers to purchase cell phones.

“[While] a lot of agencies are getting smaller or maintaining the status quo, we’ve been able to add new talent despite the generally softening business [climate],” said Tim Volk, president of KSV. “It suggests that even in Burlington you can win a national account.”

Rural Cellular, headquartered in Alexandria, Minn., provides wireless, paging, long-distance and PCS services in 14 states in the Midwest, Northeast, South and Northwest. KSV, which employs 40 people, has among its clients Champlain College, Whiteface Mountain, Timberpeg, Basin Harbor Club and the Vermont Department of Health.