Dish Network has named Havas Worldwide Chicago as its lead digital agency following a review.
The Denver-based company, the No. 2 satellite TV provider after DirecTV, invited a mix of large and small shops to pitch for the business, ultimately trimming the list down to Havas Worldwide Chicago and WPP's Wunderman.
Juel Consulting helped with the search.
The decision to hire a large agency is a departure for the challenger brand, which had previously worked with Booyah Advertising in Westminister, Colo. It also reflects an investment in a more national digital strategy and broader ambitions for its business. The company attempted to get into the wireless business earlier this year, for example, through an unsolicited $25.5 billion offer for Sprint Nextel. Sprint ultimately accepted a bid from Japanese company SoftBank.
Dish also had a CMO change in April 2012, when it named James Moorhead to the post. He arrived from Procter & Gamble Co., where he spent 11 years.
Mr. Moorhead said consumers were increasingly comparing pay-TV services on the web, the way they prepare to buy a car by scouring auto sites. "We are looking to follow the consumer and how they are shopping the category," Mr. Moorhead said Friday afternoon. "They are really seeking information on the pay-TV business increasingly online and we want to better talk to consumers in that environment."
Havas Worldwide Chicago's remit will have a broad scope in digital, including creative, search and media, according to people familiar with the matter. It will handle both national strategy and Hispanic marketing.
"Dish has a history of innovation in technology and how they communicate with customers, making them an exciting brand to work with," said Paul Marobella, group president, Havas Worldwide. "Consumers aren't just shopping the category at their desktops. It has become increasingly mobile."
Dish Network Corp. spent $469.4 million on U.S. advertising and promotions in 2012, according to the Ad Age DataCenter. The company's subscriber numbers haven't moved much in the last three years. The company reported nearly 14.1 million U.S. subscribers at the end of 2012, nearly 14 million in 2011 and 14.1 million in 2010.
Last September the company began marketing its satellite broadband service under the "dishNET" brand, targeting about 15 million rural residents that Dish said are underserved, or unserved, by traditional broadband.
Contributor: Jeanine Poggi