Sprint Names Droga5 as Its Agency of Record After Gradually Moving Production Work In-House

Account was with Deutsch for 2 years

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Today Sprint announced that it named Droga5 as its new creative agency of record after two years with Deutsch.

Vp of corporate communications David Tovar confirmed that the fourth-largest telecom company in the U.S. moved its account to Droga5 without a review, and that the agency will continue working with Omnicom's Alma on Hispanic marketing.

According to the latest numbers from Kantar Media, Sprint spent $763 million on paid media in 2015 and $305 million during the first six months of this year.

Droga5 will collaborate on the business with Yellow Fan Studios, the in-house production unit launched by Sprint earlier this year. Spokespeople for both the agency and the client said Droga5 will handle work related to strategy, positioning and the overall "brand experience" for Sprint, with the first creative products of this new partnership debuting early next year. Deutsch had been lead agency on the account since beating Arnold Worldwide in a November 2014 pitch.

"We had a great partnership with Deutsch, and they did some incredible work for us," Tovar told Adweek. "We thank them for their valuable contributions. Our industry … is incredibly dynamic and constantly changing. We felt that, as part of our transformation, it was the right time to bring new thinking and fresh ideas in the mix. Droga5 is the right agency at the right time for Sprint."

In December 2015, Sprint promoted former svp of Hispanic marketing and president of Sprint Puerto Rico Roger Solé to chief marketing officer and initiated a series of cost-cutting measures. The most prominent such move was the launch of Yellow Fan, which took over production duties on Sprint campaigns from the Deutsch team in Los Angeles and then hired PR veteran Christopher Ian Bennett to serve as its executive creative director.

Adweek's AgencySpy blog reported on a subsequent round of downsizing at Deutsch as well as further efforts by Sprint to reduce its overall marketing spend by handling more of the work itself.

Tovar said Sprint has had "great success" with Yellow Fan in only a few months. "[We've been able to] significantly cut our costs and create some world-class creative using in-house people who are very familiar with the brand and the nuances needed for our business," he said.

"We also know that we want some agency partnerships to go with that," Tovar added. "They will work in collaboration figuring out the best, most efficient ways to get that world-class creative work done."

Sprint earned some unflattering headlines in April, when various media outlets reported on a self-produced ad in which a customer referred to Sprint rival T-Mobile as "ghetto." The company pulled the spot as CEO Marcelo Claure tweeted that he had "not meant to offend anyone."

This news marks the latest in a string of new business wins for Droga5, which recently added The New York Times, Google's Pixel phone and A-B InBev's Best Damn beverage line to its client roster.

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.