Sprint Nextel Puts Accent on Speed

LOS ANGELES Publicis & Hal Riney this week introduces three spots for Sprint Nextel’s mobile broadband service.

One 30-second commercial shows a businessman joining a rival on an urban park bench, where the first is downloading a company report on his laptop via Cingular Wireless. The second man sits briefly, plugs in a Sprint card, finishes and leaves the first man still downloading. Buzzards ultimately land on the bench, waiting for the first man to expire, his download still incomplete. A voiceover concludes, “Faster downloads. That’s the power of Sprint mobile broadband.”

“We were clearing up confusion about the relative speeds of mobile broadband,” said creative director Paul Mimiaga, a copywriter, who worked with creative and art director Doug Patterson on the campaign.

A second spot also compares dueling Cingular and Sprint speeds, using footage from a 1971 spaghetti Western (Trinity Is Still My Name). In the clip, a cowboy challenged to a duel is so much faster than his adversary that he has time to slap the guy around before they draw.

“The Western is a little bit of a leap. I credit our clients for having a great sense of humor,” Mimiaga said.

A third iteration shows a nerdy man envious of the speed his co-workers attain on their mobile devices using Sprint Nextel.

Sprint Nextel last year split creative duties along business-to-business (Riney in San Francisco) and consumer (Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York) segments.

Mimiaga said that had less impact on his team than a recent meeting regarding the business going forward. “[Group creative directors] Jon Soto and Jae Goodman took the creative department to a bad Chinese restaurant and said, ‘We’re going to get better,’ meaning that we were going to really push ourselves. This is the start of the results.”

Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint Nextel spent $1.3 billion on U.S. advertising last year and nearly $600 million through June 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.