Boost Refines Brand Image

LOS ANGELES Boost Mobile today unveiled a new graphic look for its brand as it pushes to expand beyond its core multicultural youth demographic and attract a broader range of consumers.

The Irvine, Calif.-based youth-focused brand will attempt to reach up to mid-30s talkers while not alienating its core users.

Boost’s new look includes an updated logo: opposing orange shapes representing a skater or biker’s ramp with a surfer’s wave. (“Boost” refers to the extra lift at the end of the curve in extreme sports.)

The move comes a week after Michael Lanzon, vp, sales and marketing, was named interim CEO of the company. Lanzon was one of the original members of Boost’s team when it launched in Australia in 2000.

Lanzon was vp, sales in the U.S. when the brand launched in California in 2002, using Publicis Groupe’s Team One for a series of spots in which elderly actors behaved like cliche street-culture youths.

The wholly-owned division of Sprint Nextel claims to have 4.6 million customers, mostly under 30 years of age, largely in the growing prepaid market, where Boost dominates by offering a category-unique push-to-talk feature.

Boost predicts the market for prepaid services will grow from $15 billion this year to $21 billion in 2011; at the same time, post-paid is in decline. Lanzon said that although Boost’s owner focuses mainly on post-paid customers, it recognizes the value of Boost’s proposition and customer base in its portfolio.

Lanzon said the brand makeover would help remove the stigma of prepaid’s association with lower-income, teenage users by integrating the look of the prepaid “PayGo” offering with the mobile provider’s more upscale services, which include unlimited use of prepaid flat-rate (“Unlimited by Boost”).

The rebranding also comes amid a lengthy search for a lead creative shop now in the decision phase. According to sources, the review began last August with a detailed RFI issued by Sprint’s procurement department, inviting some 50 shops to submit credentials.

Caralene Robinson, Boost Mobile’s marketing director, said a handful of shops remain in contention and a decision is expected within the next two weeks. The incumbent, WPP Group’s Berlin Cameron United, New York, is not defending.

While praising the work of independent Attik, San Francisco, in Boost’s rebranding effort, Robinson said Attik gains no advantage as the lead creative shop.

In recent years the brand has spent $35 million a year on measured media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Robinson said spending will rise this year. WPP’s MindShare handles media; those chores are not in play.