In a statement, Boost Mobile said it has had a long and positive relationship with the agency, during which time the customer base grew by 4 million customers. "We've had a great run and appreciate all their work. Still, after five years, we feel the time is right for a new partner," said Michael Lanzon, VP-marketing and sales. Boost will continue to work with WPP Group-backed Berlin until June, when the agency's contract expires.
"While disappointed with the decision after a five-year run, we wish them well," said Bill Grogan, president of Berlin Cameron. "We recognize that an evolved business model, with an emphasis on retail execution, will lead them to new partnerships."
Kirshenbaum also cut
Also believed to have been eliminated from the competition was MDC Partners' Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, according to an executive familiar with the matter said. A representative for Kirshenbaum referred calls to Boost.
Two unidentified agencies remain in the race. A final decision is expected in February, a Boost spokesman said. The review does not involve Boost's media buying agency, WPP's MindShare.
The loss of Boost Mobile follows the recent exit of Berlin's plum Heineken account. The beer maker last month yanked U.S. creative duties on its flagship Heineken lager and Heineken Premium Light brands from the agency and shifted it to Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore. The beer brands spent a combined $73.4 million through the first nine months of 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
Boost needs a boost
Boost Mobile, a pre-paid cellphone service originally targeted to urban youth, has been up against increased competition from other services, such as Leap Wireless International and Metro PCS Communications. One of the high points of an otherwise dismal report from parent company Sprint Nextel today was that Boost added 256,000 net customers through its Boost Unlimited service, a plan was designed to compete with Leap's and Metro PCS's unlimited-calling plans. Overall, Sprint Nextel lost 638,000 postpaid subscribers and 202,000 customers from Boost's traditional prepaid service, the company said.
Boost Mobile spent $30 million in measured media for the first nine months of 2007 and $35 million in 2006, according to TNS.