Miami Prepaid Phone Provider Taps Havas to Help It Grow U.S. Business

TracFone brands move from Mediavest

TracFone, which is launching a more aggressive push into the U.S. mobile market, has picked Havas Media Group as agency of record to help build the profile of the prepaid service provider, sources said.

The Miami-based company awarded its media planning and buying business to Havas after a review that came down to finalists like incumbent Mediavest, Horizon and UM.

TracFone has been increasing its ad spending in recent years. It spent $191 million on measured media in North America last year, up from $147.3 million in 2014, according to Kantar Media. The telecommunications company, with operations in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, has already invested $82.8 million on media in the first quarter of this year.

The assignment covers TracFone brands like Straight Talk, Net10 and TelCel—and includes media and consumer branding strategy, broadcast, digital, mobile, social, print and search. America Movil, Mexico's largest telecommunications company, which is run by mogul Carlos Slim, owns a majority stake in TracFone.

One source said the telcom aims to compete with big mobile providers like Verizon and Sprint. But Havas Media execs declined to comment on the win, referring requests to company executives who could not be reached.

TracFone is the first big win for the agency since Colin Kinsella joined Havas Media as chief of its North America operations last month, after serving as CEO of Mindshare North America.