FlashNet Picks Richards

Web Access Service Consolidates Marketing Duties
DALLAS–FlashNet Communications of Fort Worth, Texas, has consolidated all of its marketing activities at The Richards Group in Dallas.
Billings were undisclosed, but FlashNet executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer Russell Wiseman said ad spending would far exceed the $1.4 million 1998 total, per Competitive Media Reporting, through “a much more aggressive marketing plan.” The Internet service provider is preparing for a cash infusion from its upcoming IPO.
The company had $27 million in 1998 sales, according to Hoovers Online, but expects to garner $46 million from the stock offering alone when it goes public.
Advertising through Richards and the agency’s online marketing unit, Click Here, will involve television, radio, outdoor, print, direct mail and Internet assignments. Richards/Gravelle will provide public relations support.
FlashNet previously doled out assignments on a project basis to smaller agencies, including Fort Worth’s Regian & Wilson Advertising & Public Relations.
Wiseman, previously with Richards’ client PrimeCo Personal Communications, said the agency was selected after an “informal review” of undisclosed West Coast agencies.
“We have a couple of challenges,” said Wiseman. “Managing growth and differentiating [FlashNet Communications] in a noisy, littered market.”
FlashNet, founded in 1995, serves both residential and business Internet users through low-cost access, starting from $13.95 a month. The firm said it has inked nearly 200,000 subscribers in some 450 cities, a majority of which are in the tech-savvy users market targeted by Internet service providers like Earthlink and MindSpring. FlashNet, however, plans to make a major push this year against content collectors like America Online and Prodigy, which cater to users demanding simplicity.