Branson teams with magician to reveal Virgin Mobile plans

No magic, really - the company's getting into the post-paid market, doubling its mall mini-stores across Canada and staging the first Flick-Fest Music Festival in Estevan. Ad campaigns to follow.

With the help of ‘Mind Freak’ magician Criss Angel, Virgin Mobile has announced it will move into the post-paid market in early 2008. ‘My mantra on the show is ‘what you see is what you get,” Angel told a crowd of local media and Virgin Mobile Canada staff at the Direct Energy Centre at the CNE in Toronto yesterday.

Virgin brand founder Richard Branson was quick to draw the connection between Angel’s sensational tricks and Virgin Mobile’s new offering, the details of which the company declines to disclose at this point. ‘What we hope to do in Canada is get rid of the smoke and mirrors, take the ‘con’ out of contract and bring in a post-paid proposition that really shakes up Canada in the same way that our team has done with pre-paid,’ he explained.

In an effort to expand its current base of 500,000 pre-paid customers into the more lucrative post-paid business, Virgin Mobile Canada president/CEO Andrew Black announced online promotions launching today at The first 500 customers to pre-register for the post-paid services will receive free text services for one year, while one person will win free Virgin Mobile service for life.

Black also announced that Virgin Mobile will be doubling its retail footprint in 2008 with the opening of mini-stores in malls across the country. A new TV campaign is also in the works for the holidays. Launch advertising details are still under wraps, but Virgin Mobile Canada CMO Nathan Rosenberg did not rule out the possibility of extending the partnership with Angel, quipping, ‘He’s perfect for the Virgin Mobile brand. So you may see him again, or he may not appear at all.’

Also announced yesterday was the winner of the Flick-Fest Music Festival contest, which asked Canadians to go to the site and pledge to reduce their carbon footprint. The town of Estevan, Sask., had the most entries per capita to the contest and so will host a carbon-neutral music festival next summer. Admission is free, and artists will be announced in the coming months.