Rogers launches low-end cel phone

Rogers Cantel is expanding its distribution network and attracting a new consumer market to the world of cellular phones with Amigo, two new low-cost phone and services packages available through 3,000 major retailers across Canada.Kent Thexton, vice-president of marketing for Toronto-based...

Rogers Cantel is expanding its distribution network and attracting a new consumer market to the world of cellular phones with Amigo, two new low-cost phone and services packages available through 3,000 major retailers across Canada.

Kent Thexton, vice-president of marketing for Toronto-based Rogers Cantel, says there are about 1.4 million cellular users in Canada today, primarily in the business segment, which continues to grow.

Amigo was introduced to expand the non-traditional market, which includes seniors, women, children and the owners of the 17 million cars in Canada.

Thexton says Cantel has lots of plans for Amigo and wants to build it as a brand, but he would not verify that an estimated $8 million has been allotted to market Amigo in addition to Cantel’s $8-million annual budget.

Amigo was launched June 2 in nine English markets with a multimedia campaign from Vickers & Benson Advertising of Toronto, and in three Quebec markets June 8 with advertising from Publicite Martin of Montreal.

Genesis Media of Toronto, an affiliate of v&b, handled placement.

The English-language campaign included full-page newspaper ads, outdoor, 30- and 60-second tv commercials, radio and a 90-second direct response tv spot from V&B Direct.

The theme-line, ‘At last… affordable cellular you’ll find everywhere,’ is the base for all advertising executions.

Although v&b launched Amigo, Thexton would not say whether the agency would continue to handle the Amigo business.

In addition to v&b and Publicite Martin for French-language advertising, Cantel is also using other agencies on a project basis and staging reviews for each project.

Thexton says the multi-vendor approach is being taken because different projects have different requirements, for example, brand experience was needed for the Amigo assignment, while retail expertise was required for last month’s launch of VoiceCommand by Gee Jeffery & Partners of Toronto.

He says individual project reviews will not be publicly announced by the company for competitive reasons.

Amigo Safety Service at $19.95 per month provides the user with a cellular phone with a built-in, hands-free microphone that plugs into a car cigarette lighter.

Calls to most emergency services are free, and additional calls are charged at 95 cents a minute.

Amigo Personal Services comes with a hand-held portable cellular phone and unlimited weekend calling for $29.95 a month. Additional calls are 75 cents a minute.

Once consumers get hooked on cellular, they can up their airtime for $39.95 per month. For Safety Service users that adds unlimited evening and weekend calling and unlimited evening calling for Personal Service.