Publicis Says Hello for Cellular One

DALLAS Publicis in Mid America’s first image campaign for Cellular One introduces the carrier as the “next best way” to say hello when one can’t say it in person.

The 30-second television spot breaking Sunday for the rural wireless provider opens with shots of satellites turning, big city skyscrapers, and busy professionals riding down escalators and walking in and out of office buildings. A voiceover says, “Hello. In a world that’s managed to take a simple word and make it complicated, there are still those who remember that the best hellos are said face to face.”

Next we see shots of two friends talking, a mother kissing her daughter, a woman smiling at a man in a bar and other people interacting. The voiceover continues, “And that the coolest connections have nothing to do with networks and everything to do with feelings. We know it too. We’re Cellular One. The spot introduces the tag, “Proud to be the next best way to say hello.”

“We serve rural America and our market has a different makeup [than that of many other carriers] and we felt we needed to leverage the demographic of our market,” said Jerry Gallegos, vice president of marketing at Cellular One parent company Western Wireless in Bellevue, Wash. “We believe we’ve done this with the campaign and the personal message.”

The brand worked with small, undisclosed shops in the Pacific Northwest before hiring Publicis in Mid America’s Dallas office in April; the shop pitched the current concept in the review.

Gallegos said past efforts that used “Call on someone you know” as a tag did not differentiate the carrier enough. “As we visited markets and retail stores, it became clear we have a really strong name and customers understand it but what did the brand really mean?” he said. “We wanted something that stood out going forward.”

The effort includes print, collateral and radio executions, in addition to shorter TV spots that contain promotions. TV work will run in spot markets throughout Cellular One’s 19-state market and targets both current and potential customers.

The campaign is the first to be made available to independent Cellular One licensees.

Billings are undisclosed. Advertising spending for Cellular One was $1 million in 2001, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Its 2003 media spend is estimated by sources to be $15 million.