Inside Sprint’s Overland Park campus, a new full-service advertising and marketing agency is taking shape.
The in-house entity, Yellow Fan Studios, is assuming creative responsibility for the mobile carrier’s film and print production, design and other creative services.
Already, about 30 creative professionals have been hired, and about 30 more are expected to soon join the team. Their work will be focused especially on social media and other consumer marketing.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure began the initiative about six months ago and considers it part of an overall cost-cutting move. Claure particularly has said that layoffs alone won’t take the company where he wants it to go. He’s putting bets on growth in digital marketing.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
In an earnings call with stock analysts in early May, Claure said the company already had reduced its marketing expenses by 12 percent and expected further cuts to reduce overall operating expenses by least $2 billion.
Sprint spokesman Dave Tovar said the advertising transition is just one change “in the midst of a multiyear transformation of the company.”
According to the industry publication Advertising Age, bringing production in-house — especially for digital content — is a growing trend for companies.
Tovar said Deutsch remains Sprint’s advertising agency of record for general market advertising and Alma remains its agency of record for the Hispanic market.
Deutsch won Sprint’s business in 2014 but recently reported a round of layoffs tied to Sprint production work.
A Sprint vice president, Tracy Palmer, told Advertising Age that Sprint’s new internal agency already was handling “local messaging” for the “One Sprint” campaign and was working on a “new general market social strategy overall.”
Tovar said Sprint has had an in-house production studio on its Overland Park campus “for many years” and intends to capitalize on that.
Yellow Fan Studios is being led by Christopher Ian Bennett, who joined Sprint in August 2015 as director of innovation and creative media. His new title is executive creative director.
Bennett, a Canadian by birth, has worked in corporate communications for about 20 years, including stints for 1-800-GOT-JUNK, Guitar Center and Best Buy. He also is the executive producer and director of TEDx Programs in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Sprint also changed its chief marketing officer in December 2015, naming Roger Sole to succeed Kevin Crull.
“We’re rethinking all of our operating expenses and procedures,” Tovar said. “We’re looking at departments across the board. This is one of several things we’ll be doing differently. It’s one decision of many we’ve made.”