Disgraced WorldCom Morphs Into Squeaky Clean MCI

17 April 2003

Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners has won what must rank as one of the toughest rebranding assignments ever: to restore the fortunes of disgraced telecoms giant WorldCom.

Of all the corporate fraud exposed last year, WorldCom’s ranks as the biggest in dollar terms. Initial estimates that it had inflated profits by $3.8 billion (€3.5bn; £2.4bn) have grown steadily with new revelations, a recent Wall Street Journal article putting the figure at up to $11bn. The company filed for bankruptcy protection last July, and is expected to emerge in September.

WorldCom has decided that the best way to restore its good name is to change it – and henceforth will be known as MCI, adopting the title of one of its existing telecoms units. MVBMS, a longstanding member of the WorldCom roster, will handle the global rebranding, having won a pitch against Deutsch and DWP/Bates Technology.

“For us, this is tremendously significant,” declared the shop’s ceo Ron Berger. “Rarely do you get an opportunity to be part of such a change. They have lived through their troubles and come out of the other side. They have been a client that has defined us.”

Billings were undisclosed due to Chapter 11 restrictions. Last year, WorldCom spent $211 million (€195m; £134m), with the MCI unit, handled by Deutsch, attracting $32.5m.

Commented the group’s chairman/ceo Michael Capellas, apparently with a straight face: “With established brand equity and a name that stands for integrity, innovation and value, we’re ready to regain our leadership position in the marketplace.”

Data sourced from: AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff