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McCann WorldGroup wins $40m mobile telecoms work

LONDON - Dutch mobile telecoms brand Celtel has appointed Interpublic's McCann WorldGroup to its $40m pan-African account, after a four-way pitch.

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The account, which will be run out of London, was previously held by the small South African agency Ovation, but Celtel, which is the largest mobile telephony brand outside of South Africa, decided it needed a full-service network.

McCann pitched against Publicis Groupe-owned Leo Burnett, which worked with sister agency Publicis Worldwide; WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather; and the Kenyan shop Scan-ad.

The brand is part of Dutch company Mobile Systems International Cellular Investments. The company plans to spend $40m (£25m) marketing the brand in the 14 countries in which it operates over the coming year.

Ashish Banerjee, vice-president EMEA and director of the telecommunications practice, will head the account for McCann WorldGroup, based in London.

"Africa is the world's fastest-growing region in the mobile telecoms sector, and the only continent where we lacked a pan-regional telecoms client, so delivering a significantly large business to a dozen of our offices there makes the win particularly sweet," Banerjee said.

The pitch by McCann included contributions by 20 staff in six offices. The agencies that will work on the account include McCann-Erickson for advertising creative, Universal McCann for media planning, buying and research, FutureBrand for brand work and Weber Shandwick Worldwide for public relations.

Tito Alai, marketing director of the MSI Group, said: "We're looking forward to building a really strong pan-African brand with them, and to a long and mutually rewarding relationship."

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