Brann Gets $10M-Plus B Digital USA Account

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Australian wireless reseller B Digital Ltd.'s B Digital USA arm has named Brann Baltimore as its U.S. agency of record to handle its account worth more than $10 million.

Brann Baltimore beat Toolbox and J. Walter Thompson Co. to win the account on which there was no incumbent. Brann is charged with introducing B Digital in the competitive domestic wireless market through response-based marketing.

"What they expect us to do is to help them define a brand positioning in this commodity space that's cellular, but more importantly, drive transactions," said Paul Walczyk, executive vice president and general manager at Brann Baltimore.

As a wireless and cellular reseller, B Digital USA, Washington, will repackage services bought from wireless marketers for customers seeking simple-rate plans without fine print or confusing details. The company has signed a deal with Verizon Wireless, a leader in the wireless market.

B Digital launches in the United States in February, after offering wireless services in Australia and South Africa. The parent company is based in Perth, Western Australia.

"The brand positioning is going to focus on the complexity of the cellular environment and the complex decisions that consumers face when they're selecting a cellular provider," Walczyk said.

First USA Bank and the Bermuda Department of Tourism are among Brann Baltimore's clients.

Brann will steer B Digital USA's Clear and Simple ad tag line away from a product-focused campaign to direct executions that target the under-35 market. This covers new entrants in the market between 18 and 25 years old as well as experienced cellular phone users age 25 and older.

"The reason to switch for these guys is simplicity, and really what they'd like to do is go for people who are disgruntled with other providers and who are looking for really a service-oriented company that can provide service and competitive pricing," Walczyk said.

Starting with a small market beta test this month, the Brann campaign will incorporate direct mail and collateral materials, direct response television, radio, print and the Internet.

The initial focus will be on the Northeast market, including the New England and Mid-Atlantic states.

B Digital USA will use a combination of inbound telemarketing and eventually a Web component to sell its services.

It will not be easy, especially in a U.S. wireless and cellular services market dominated by Verizon Wireless, Sprint PCS, AT&T Wireless and VoiceStream Wireless. Also, the cellular market penetration is anywhere from 80 million to 89 million subscriptions, according to industry estimates. Though not considered to be the saturation point, it will require an exceptional marketing effort to convince users to switch.

The nature of B Digital USA's product is a limiting factor since it is simply rebranding wireless services taken from others.

"Their challenge is going to be that they're an all-direct provider," Walczyk said. "There are going to be no stores. That's the business model that these guys have successfully implemented in Australia."

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