Virgin Mobile Consolidates at Mother

CHICAGO Virgin Mobile USA is consolidating its $15 million advertising account at independent agency Mother in New York, effective immediately, the client confirmed.

Though Mother has been on the client’s roster since spring, Fallon in New York—which closed in July—handled the bulk of the account.

“We’ve enjoyed a terrific relationship with Fallon. We’ve enjoyed working with those guys,” said Howard Handler, chief strategy and brand officer for Virgin Mobile. “Ultimately, we are most comfortable working out of New York with our agency partner.”

Media buying will remain at Publicis Groupe’s StarLink in Chicago, Handler said. Planning duties are still being worked out. “We’re going to figure out a way to handle that out of New York,” he said.

Though Fallon’s now-shuttered New York office initially handled the account, the Publicis Groupe agency’s Minneapolis headquarters created a holiday campaign for the company. The recent work showcased offbeat elves answering a “Chrismahanukwanzakah” help line.

A Fallon representative said the agency had a “six-month transition plan, and that has now come to an end.”

Last spring, the Warren, N.J., client enlisted Mother to create a “parental enlightenment kit,” intended for teens and young adults to use in educating their parents about the need for a cell phone.

Handler would not disclose account billings. The company spent less than $10 million on advertising through October 2005 and just under $15 million in all of 2004, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.