With Tobin on board, Sprint will dial in to black users

KANSAS CITY, MO: Phone services provider Sprint has hired Tobin & Associates as its AOR for African-American consumers and businesses.

KANSAS CITY, MO: Phone services provider Sprint has hired Tobin & Associates as its AOR for African-American consumers and businesses.

The move is part of an ongoing effort by the telecommunication giant to increase its presence in the vital African-American market. The marketing mix will include both PR and advertising.

Tobin's PR plan for Sprint is currently being refined, according to spokesperson Mark Bonavia. He declined to disclose the size of the account or the amount the company is spending on marketing.

Bonavia said the Tobin hiring is 'part of a cohesive marketing/PR nexus, and we're working to link it all together.' He added that the African-American community represents an important customer and business sector for Sprint.

'It's a large chunk of our business and it's continuing to grow,' he said. Bonavia did not, however, have specific figures about how much of Sprint's dollars 17 billion in annual sales stems from African-American consumers and businesses.

Pat Tobin, the founder of Tobin & Associates, noted that African-Americans spend more than dollars 10 billion a year on telephone services. 'Our efforts will be a natural compliment to Sprint's current work on the advertising and marketing fronts relative to the African-American community,' she said.

Sprint recently announced it would be advertising on Black Entertainment Television this year, and has been working with Vigilante, the urban marketing division of Leo Burnett USA, on the ad effort. The company has also been advertising in BET magazines Emerge and Heart & Soul.

Other Tobin clients include the NAACP.

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