Sprint makes Digitas its new ad agency for brand promotion

Sprint Nextel Corp. is hitching the Sprint brand to a new agency after three years of strong improvement in its once damaged trade name.

The Overland Park-based wireless carrier said Wednesday that Digitas would lead the new team effort to manage Sprint’s brand strategy, advertising, digital, offline media, digital buying and analytics.

The Leo Burnett agency will be “a critical member” of the team, according to the announcement. Digitas and Leo Burnett are part of the Publicis Groupe.

Sprint notified Goodby Silverstein & Partners, its lead agency since 2007, only hours before the public announcement, according to the trade publication Advertising Age.

Advertising Age quoted Goodby co-founder Jeff Goodby as saying Sprint wanted to “go in a different direction” and that Sprint had “really transformed while we were there, in a positive way.”

Sprint chief executive Dan Hesse, who joined the company in December 2007, has made the company’s brand one of his three targets for improvement, along with customer experience and bolstering Sprint’s cash position. Hesse frequently hails the brand’s dramatic improvement and strong standing in the wireless marketplace.

A spokeswoman said Sprint would not comment beyond its announcement. Sprint also sells the Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Assurance brands.

“We are focused on continuing to build the Sprint brand, bringing value and simplicity to customers across all segments,” Bill Malloy, Sprint’s chief marketing officer, said in the announcement.

Malloy said the team approach led by Digitas provides an “integrated, collaborative environment” for that effort.