NEW YORK In case you were wondering, 6,000 people are researching restaurants from a cab -- and 29 of them will leave their phones behind. This is just one of the many factoids about wireless communications shared by Sprint's new "Now Network" campaign by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco.
The effort -- which includes TV, print and online ads, as well as a new Web site -- uses real statistics to illustrate how Sprint can aggregate and analyze data at high speeds. The campaign took its inspiration from a widget the company introduced last fall.
A 60-second TV commercial that broke last night on Fox's 24 welcomes viewers to the "Now Network" and graphically runs through stats like how many people are participating, the number of phone calls being made, how many e-mails are en route and various trivia such as the number of subject lines that include the phase "miracle banana diet."
"We are trying to give a face to the network and talk about the fact that Sprint understands this whole consumer need of having things now," said Mike Goff, vp of national advertising at Sprint. He said the company is also trying to change the usual dialogue in the category from negative to positive. "[We want to] portray the network at a human level versus talking about call coverage, drops or things that have become tried-and-true," he said.
The new campaign was inspired, said Goff, by the success of a "Now" widget the company introduced last fall to support its mobile broadband service and tout the network's ability to provide instantaneous data.
A new Sprint Web site went live yesterday that expands on that idea with a richer experience. The site (sprint.com/nownetwork
) includes information such as how many homes are being built and how much money is being spent "now."
"It's intended to let you get into it, experience it, and keep digging and digging," said Goff of the data-driven Web site. A downloadable widget offering a selection of data is also available.
"What [the campaign] is recognizing more than anything is that the world has changed. What was formally known as a phone now is more of a PC experience in your hand," said Rob Smith, group account director at Goodby. "[It's about] the instant communication and the desire to have everything that you want right now in your hand. The Sprint network is built to handle exactly that. It's its strength. Hence it is the right time to come out with an optimistic, future-oriented, slightly humorous but very positive campaign."
The first commercial promotes the company's 3G network, as well as its 4G upgrade, which is currently available in Baltimore and will be rolled out in markets such as Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas and Dallas this year.
The wireless company also began running a new value-based campaign late last week that asks, "Why throw your money away?" The ads highlight the cost-effectiveness of the Everything Data plan and emphasize the money people can save if they switch to Sprint from AT&T or Verizon. One spot shows a family using a leaf blower and rake to clean up a lawn littered with dollar bills; it informs consumers they can save $360 a year over comparable AT&T and Verizon plans.
"We are trying to take advantage that consumers are stepping back and asking questions about what they are spending their money on," said Goff. "We knew we had a value advantage and the thought of the campaign is you'd be crazy not to switch."