MVBMS Debuts MCI Image Effort

As bankruptcy hearings begin today, MCI, the telecom formerly known as WorldCom, is launching the first part of an estimated $30 million campaign from Havas’ Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners that aims to brush up the embattled long-distance carrier’s corporate image.

The national “pre-emergence campaign” is designed to address issues surrounding the bankruptcy. Created by MVBMS’ Los Angeles and New York offices, the effort starts with print and online ads. The “emergence campaign” will begin when the hearings end, most likely later this month. As part of that initiative, out-of-home work and broadcast and direct-response spots, now in production, will break.

Dan McLoughlin, partner and MCI global brand director at MVBMS, said the pre-emergence campaign will focus on corporate decision makers and IT executives.

The first print ad in the pre-emergence campaign, running in the financial sections of newspapers, cites the five new members of the Ashburn, Va., client’s board of directors and describes how the company is committed to focusing on telecommunications solutions. The ad also notes that MCI has held on to two-thirds of Fortune 1,000 companies with 20 million customers in 72 countries.

“We want MCI’s customers to know that they’re still at work, and the company has acknowledged the wrongdoing by former officials and has taken steps to rectify the situation,” McLoughlin said.

In addition to the Chapter 11 hearing, which stems from an $11 billion accounting irregularity in 2002, the company’s former chief executive, Bernard Ebbers, last week pleaded innocent to fraud charges in Oklahoma state court.