Publicis’ Teen Gang Mugs for T-Mobile

LOS ANGELES Publicis Groupe’s Publicis in Seattle breaks a spot this weekend reflecting T-Mobile’s new emphasis on selling pre-paid service to youth, according to the campaign’s creative director.

The 30-second “Bowling Alley” introduces a “Poser Mobile Posse” of teenagers who confront a young black man using his cell phone and demand hidden fees that the bling-bling-wearing street gang feels entitled to collect.

A spot following in the next two weeks will continue the Poser Posse’s comical muggings when a waiter making a call on his break is tackled by the faux gang, said Todd Grant, svp and creative director at the Seattle shop, who worked with creative directors Jordan Dontos (copy) and Izvel Rodriguez (art) and director Eric King of Headquarters, Los Angeles.

“They [the Posers] lose credibility quickly,” said Grant, who added that the concept was inspired by seeing “a lot of flash and sizzle from companies trying to be cool” in reaching the 18-24-year-old target. He said the spot is not directed at any particular rival for youth cellular dollars, but created the “fictional entity about the competition, which now includes not just Boost and Virgin but a cottage industry of pre-paid youth style.”

The Posers will appear in collateral, point-of-purchase displays and interactive components of T-Mobile advertising, Grant said, and may return in future TV spots.

Campaign spending details were not available. Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile spent $325 million advertising in 2004, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.