Inconsiderate But Not A Total Jerk

Having brought cell-phone manners to America’s movie houses, BBDO Atlanta had little choice but to behave properly last fall when its chatterbox anti-hero, Inconsiderate Cell Phone Man, made a faux pas. ICPM was nattering on in an ad, as usual, when he said something about a person getting mauled by a tiger. Oops. Soon after the ad broke, Roy Horn suffered his on-stage cat-scratching. ICPM was quickly silenced, as the trailer was pulled. “We didn’t wait to get complaints,” says Lauren Butler, account supervisor at Ketchum, which proposed the original idea of ICPM to its sister Omnicom shop, which handles Cingular Wireless. Butler says the agencies didn’t want to mess with the popularity of a character who has inspired requests for copies of the trailer since his introduction last April.

Now ICPM is back in 6,500 Loews and Regal theaters nationwide in a new Cingular trailer that breaks today. To a catchy retro jingle, he interrupts his marriage vows (not including one of silence, it would seem), keeps a boardroom waiting while he orders “turkey on wheat,” splits his sides in group therapy, compliments a juror from the witness’ chair, bellows in a library and embarrasses a dinner date.

The spot—which carries Loews and Regal co-sponsorship tags—was directed by Bennett Miller of Hungry Man. Butler said ICPM is moving into the lobby now, with box-office handouts and other forms of messaging. Ketchum will also conduct in-lobby surveys to test the trailer’s effectiveness. Last time they checked, they liked what they heard: 56 percent felt more favorably toward Cingular.