First TV Work for SBC Service

She’s an attractive blonde who rattles off her telephone number to her seatmate as they step off a plane. He’s a pudgy geek who can’t believe his good luck in obtaining her number. The only question is: Will he remember it?

An amusing race against time follows in this first ad in a series of TV spots from GSD&M for SBC Communications’ directory-assistance service. As the young man sets off on a desperate search for pen and paper, his chanting of the woman’s number is interrupted by flight numbers, public address system announcements and a waitress calling out an order. Predictably, the prized phone number is lost.

The spot reminds us that with SBC directory assistance, “All you need is a name and a city.”

The campaign, estimated at $10 million, breaks today and includes two other 30-second executions. In “Cousins,” a man’s funeral goes unattended because his relatives do not have the phone number of his friends. In “Nicole,” a group of guys drooling over their friend’s out-of-town girlfriend try and find out her last name when he reveals they broke up.

The campaign marks the first TV work marketing this particular service for San Antonio, Texas-based SBC.

“Everybody knows to dial 1411 [for information], but they don’t know they can now dial 1411 and get numbers nationwide,” said Steve Miller, group creative director at the Austin, Texas agency.

“The SBC family is moving in the direction of being a little more aggressive,” Miller added.

The ads will air in eight Southwestern markets on spot and cable TV. Regional versions of the campaign for Ameritech and Pac Bell will also appear in Midwest and West Coast markets.

The campaign also includes radio and outdoor elements.