Virgin Mobile shifts media to Media Experts, partners with Flight Centre

Virgin Mobile Canada has shifted its media assignment from Wills & Co. to Media Experts after what Andrew Bridge, the telco’s Toronto-based director, brand and communications, described as an “informal” review that took place over the past six months.

Chris Powell June 06, 2011

Virgin Mobile Canada has shifted its media assignment from Wills & Co. to Media Experts after an “informal” account review that took place over the last six months.

In Canada, Virgin Mobile is entirely owned by Bell, which shifted its massive media assignment to Media Experts last year. The transition of the Virgin business is expected to be complete by July, said Andrew Bridge, the telco’s Toronto-based director of brand and communications.

According to Bridge, Virgin was attracted to Media Experts because of its strategic background, its fit with the company and considerable experience in telecom (Media Experts worked with Telus for many years before taking on the Bell assignment).

After the Bell acquisition, “we assessed resources where there were great assets for us to tap into, and Media Experts was one of them,” said Bridge. “They’ve got a great team, they’re known for doing great strategic work and creative.”

The media shift accompanied the announcement that Virgin Mobile has launched a new rewards program developed in conjunction with travel company Flight Centre.

The partnership grants Virgin Mobile subscribers – or “members” as they’re known in company parlance – $100 off any of Flight Centre’s Topdeck Trip or Contiki Holiday experiences, $50 off any international airfare and $50 off any air and hotel package for trips around the world.

To access the deals, users enter the Virgin Mobile Members Lounge and type in their mobile number to receive a personalized travel club number that is texted to their mobile device.

“One of the things we’ve been working on is finding a travel partner that can give our members great rewards, and that’s where the partnership with Flight Centre came from,” said Bridge. “It’s an additional way to give them a travel perk we know they’ll find attractive.”

Virgin is currently offering its members approximately 15 partner deals from companies including fashion retailer H&M and car sharing service Zipcar. “They’re evolving all the time, and our challenge is to keep them fresh and continue to fill the pipeline with enticing offers,” said Bridge.

Virgin introduced the idea of “membership” about a year ago and has been evolving its strategy since then, said Bridge. While it is currently promoting these programs to subscribers through newsletters, in-bill communications and SMS, Bridge said it will be a key focus areas of the company’s broader marketing outreach in the crucial back-to-school advertising period.

Virgin’s brand is targeted at what Bridge described as the “young and young and heart,” but its sweep spot is people 18-29.

“We think member benefits make us different and drive strong consideration for our brand,” said Bridge. “People really gravitated towards member benefits and found them really interesting, so our task now is to really round out our offering and build out our member program.”