Leagas Lands $60 Mil. Launch of Virgin Cell Service

SAN FRANCISCO–Leagas Delaney in San Francisco has been tapped to launch Virgin Mobile USA?s cellular service in the U.S., an account worth an estimated
$60 million, sources said.

In January, the business was awarded to Lowe Lintas & Partners, here, but that shop closed five months later and Virgin Mobile executives quickly renewed their search for an agency.

Sources said Leagas has been working with Virgin Mobile on a project basis since July. Agency
co-president and executive creative director Vince Engel worked on the account at Lowe, where he served as creative director before joining Leagas in June.

Executives at Leagas and Virgin Mobile declined comment.

The account win comes just weeks after London-based Virgin Group Ltd. said it was forming a joint venture with Sprint Corp. to offer pay-as-you-go wireless communications services and handsets in the U.S. under the Virgin Mobile brand.

The new national wireless service will be targeted at 15- to 30-year-olds and is expected to launch nationwide during the first half of 2002, according to a statement issued by the Virgin Group in
early October.

Virgin Mobile?s products and services will include standard long distance and nationwide coverage, as well as additional features called Xtras. The Xtras–such as music or sports scores delivered directly to subscribers’ mobiles–are poised to make cell phones ?more like a portable office and entertainment facility,? according to the Virgin Mobile Web site, www.virginmobile.com.

Virgin Mobile has extensively promoted its services to the young-adult market in England since debuting there in November 1999. Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe Y&R in London handles creative duties in the United Kingdom. In September, Virgin Mobile extended its brand to Australia.