Virgin Mobile’s Sign Language

NEW YORK Virgin Mobile’s first work from Havas’ McKinney, now rolling out in New York, proclaims, simply, yet boldly, “You rule.”

The effort praises famed neighborhoods including Bed-Stuy, Chinatown and Hell’s Kitchen with copy such as, “Presenting an idea as awesome as you: plans without annual contracts.” There are also more generic iterations (“Car-service drivers, you rule”) designed for posting in any area.

“We’ve attempted to change the conversation about wireless,” said client CMO Howard Handler. “We like to say that our customers are in control.”

By the time the last sign goes up, within the next two weeks, there will be a total of 350 ads on bus shelters, phone kiosks, billboards and walls in New York.

The campaign’s print component is slated to run in Cosmopolitan, Vibe and the New York Post.

In addition, the “You rule” concept will be featured on product packaging and the company’s Web site,

Other U.S. cities, as yet undisclosed, will get the “You rule” sign treatment later this year.

“This is a campaign that transcends localization. In the other cities, we’ll maintain the notion of speaking directly to people,” said Handler. “We’re trying to celebrate the power of the individual and their ability to control their phones.”

McKinney, based in Durham, N.C., won the $15 million creative account earlier this year after a review. New York’s Mother, the incumbent, declined to participate.

“This work was inspired by the truth that most cell phone providers want customers to make a commitment to them, and Virgin Mobile is all about making a commitment to its customers,” said Jeff Jones, McKinney president.