PGC Gets Phones For All Account

Texans Will Blaze an Image Trail in Sub-Prime Service Category
DALLAS-PGC Advertising here was assigned the estimated $15 million account of Dallas-based Phones For All, a provider of high-cost local phone service to people cut off from regular carriers through bill delinquency or credit issues.
The account assignment came about after the client contacted several Dallas-area shops. But PGC held the edge through a previous relationship with Phones For All’s senior vice president of marketing and sales, Andr Job.
“They understand this target audience and have shown their capabilities” in sales channels and subprime categories, said Job.
Agency executives could not be reached for comment at press time, and a PGC representative referred calls to Job.
Job first worked with Omnicom-owned PGC on consumer marketing tasks while at Mesquite, Texas-based rent-to-own firm RTO. RTO, later converted to the Home Choice banner, was acquired by Rent-Way of Erie, Pa., in December. PGC no longer handles Home Choice.
Job said the assignment will involve a mix of television, print, radio and in-store support. The company hopes to bring both imaging and direct response messages to bear in upcoming TV work, expected to debut in 45-60 days, said Job.
“We want to brand the concept,” said Job. “Nobody has created a brand position in the category [yet].”
Phones For All spent less than $1 million on advertising in 1998, per Competitive Media Reporting. Sources said that would jump to $15 million.
The company is part of a fledgling and highly competitive market opened up through state and federal telecommunications deregulation. In Texas alone, Consumers Union reported 22 of 36 companies registered as consumer local service providers with the Texas Public Utility commission are firms like Phones For All, catering to low-income and credit-challenged families and individuals at fees far above the capped rates of regulated carriers. Published reports noted Phones For All charges $49 a month for basic local service, compared to Southwestern Bell’s regular $13 rate in Texas. Phones For All serves major cities in about 15 states.