TracFone, the nation’s leading pre-paid wireless carrier, has selected Interlex as Agency of Record for its Lifeline Services unit.
Lifeline is a program backed by the Federal Communications Commission. It is designed to provide consumers with household incomes at -- or below -- 135% of the poverty level with free telephone service for access to emergency services. In most states, if a person qualifies for income-based government assistance like Medicaid, WIC or Food Stamps, they also qualify for Lifeline services.
“These services have been in existence for a long time,” states Interlex President & CEO Rudy Ruiz. “but until now they’ve largely been kept in the shadows. In the wake of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, the Federal government has increased its investment in Lifeline. TracFone’s initiative is part of a new push to ensure everyone in America has basic phone services and access to help in times of emergency.”
While most landline carriers provide the Lifeline service as a subsidy discount on phone bills still laden with other charges and taxes, TracFone’s is the only wireless Lifeline service and the only truly free offering. Qualified customers will receive a free handset and nearly an hour of free airtime each month. After that, they will stlll have 911 access at all times and can add minutes to their phone by purchasing additional prepaid airtime in small increments of $2, $3 and $5.
“TracFone’s approach solves a basic obstacle faced by low-income consumers eligible for Lifeline services in the past,” explains Ruiz. “There’s no way to get disconnected. There’s no deposits or credit checks. There’s no hidden fees or surprising phone bills. It’s truly free and empowering.”
According to a study published in 2007, owning a cellular phone provides economic benefits to consumers via access to employment and work opportunities, increased efficiency and connectivity. Research shows that when equipped with a cell phone, a person’s income increases by an average of over $700/year as a direct result.
“The benefits to having a wireless phone are multiple,” adds Rolando Rodriguez, Managing Director of PR at Interlex. “That’s why we will be helping TracFone form vital partnerships with the non-profit and government agencies that serve the low-income population. With this program in place, nobody should ever find themselves in distress and unable to reach out for help. Nobody should find themselves completely isolated in this age of technology as they struggle to provide for themselves and their families. That’s what this program is all about: doing the right things for the right reasons.”
Tapped for its advocacy and cause-related expertise and history of measurable results in reaching traditionally underserved audiences, Interlex is charged with development of the new brand as well as all advertising, packaging and point of sale materials, planning and execution of the national rollout and ongoing direct response campaigns. Duties include research, creative development, branding, advertising, media buying, digital and online media, as well as public, media and government relations, and event marketing.
“This is a prime example of how we can bring all we have to offer as an agency to bear on an important opportunity. This account encompasses advocacy marketing, fully integrated agency services, as well as General and Multicultural Marketing expertise. It’s the perfect storm for Interlex to shine in helping TracFone reach their goal of empowering low-income consumers while growing their business.”