Is your wireless carrier working you over like a Carolina Bearded Tick on a baby hog's ankle? Might be time to switch to Republic Wireless.
That's the advice from one H. Bud Chadwickson—Southern gentleman, fictional bestselling author of And That's Just a Fact!, doctor of factuary arts, and linguistically florid spokesman for Republic's first national ad campaign, rolling out today from The VIA Agency in Portland, Maine.
Republic has a compelling sales pitch—its plans start at $19 a month for unlimited data, talk and text, with no contract. That's "just a fact," says Chadwickson—played here with excitable panache by improv actor Matt Ballard. Among the other things positioned as "just a fact" in the 60-second TV spot: that Americans pay too much for phone service, and that Republic helps you "save a lot of money for pretty much nothin'."
Both assertions are essentially true. Wireless contracts are notoriously expensive. Yet Republic can offer that low price point because it's a WiFi-centric carrier—it places calls over WiFi when it can, and uses Sprint's costlier cellular network (at no extra charge to you) only as a backup.
Chadwickson, joined by a hapless dunce of an assistant named Giles (Paul Wielunski), says the media are "spreading the word faster than goose fat on grits" about Republic—though the Walt Mossberg quote offered halfway through the ad is certainly selective. Mossberg outlined several of Republic's flaws in his February story, including voice quality, but did conclude that it's a good deal if you can live with the limitations.
That tradeoff would seem particularly attractive to younger consumers (if not baby hogs), and so the comedic approach here seems wise. The spots were directed by Click 3X's Josh Ruben and Vince Peone, whose popular College Humor videos include "Mitt Romney Style," a Gangnam Style parody from last October that's gotten almost 50 million YouTube views.
Republic's :60, which is getting a four-week run on cable networks including TBS, TNT, USA, Fox News and Comedy Central, is supported by other online spots, video banners on sites like Fab.com, and an extensive social presence. Chadwickson is fact-checking the Internet from his various perches on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and you're even invited to challenge him to a game of Words With Friends.
Alas, his Wikipedia page was rejected for "being quite promotional." However, the site says "a neutrally written, well referenced article about Mr. Chadwickson would be welcomed by Wikipedia." And that's just a fact.
Client: Republic Wireless
Agency: The VIA Agency, Portland, Maine
President: Leeann Leahy
Chief Creative Officer: Greg Smith
Creative Director: Ron Clayton
Associate Creative Directors: Chris Jacobs and Chris Avantaggio
Agency Producer: Mary Hanifin
Group Strategy Director: Julia Brady
Client Strategist: Lydia Wagner
Director of Analytics and Insights: Scott MacLeod
Media Director: Chuck Alexander
Senior Social Media Strategist: Judi Cutrone
Production Company: Click 3X
Directors: Josh Ruben and Vince Peone
Editor: Patrick Sperry