Mullen Creates Spots for Nextel

Nextel Communications has broadened its advertising strategy, unveiling separate campaigns from Mullen that are intended to appeal to different customer segments.

Dennis Franz returns this week in consumer-oriented ads for Nextel’s hand-held phones. Also looking to get its products into the boardroom and into the hands of sales professionals, the client has launched Wireless Business Solutions spots.

“A lot of phone lines are good at carrying voice, not data, but Nextel does both,” said Mullen chief creative Edward Boches. “As a result, they can provide more services to companies that need access to inventory or sales data remotely.”

Nextel in Reston, Va., is Wenham, Mass.-based Mullen’s largest client, spending more than $150 million on ads last year and $30 million in the first two months of 2002, per CMR.

Franz’s appearance in two 30-second television spots plays off a series launched earlier this year in which the NYPD Blue star insists he “doesn’t do commercials.”

In one ad, Franz is shown in an airport, a look of disgust on his face as he sees himself in a giant poster for Nextel’s Direct Connect two-way radio feature. He pulls out his phone to call his agent. “You remember that conversation we had?” he asks. “The one where I said I don’t do any ads?” As the agent assures him the airport poster is the only one, a dismayed Franz walks outside to find more ads plastered on buses.

A second campaign highlights Wireless Business Solutions’ value in the enterprise marketplace. “Wall of Fame” ads tell senior executives that using the system makes good business sense.