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Powertel Sounds Off In TV Spots

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Pollak Levitt Chaiet Creates a Quiet Riot in New Work for Telco
ATLANTA--A librarian who loses her cool and a generous mobster are featured in the latest TV campaign for Powertel, a Georgia-based digital PCS phone service provider.
The spots, created by Pollak Levitt Chaiet (PLC) here, use humor to set Powertel apart from its competitors, said agency senior vice president and creative director Andrƒ Nel.
"We're trying to be a little different in the category," said Nel, who joined the shop in 1996 from The Richards Group of Dallas. He added that telcos typically use either a "talking heads" or lifestyle approach.
Through account planning, the agency was able to isolate a key factor among consumers: affordability.
In "Quiet Please," a librarian is disturbed by a man speaking on his Powertel phone. With the firm's low-rate payment plans, "Powertel PCS makes being quiet a lot harder," a voiceover explains. When several polite admonishments prove ineffective, the librarian screams her request so loudly that books fall off shelves.
"The Boss" depicts an organized crime leader accusing one of his gang members of talking too much. As the nervous mobster awaits to be punished, he instead is given a Powertel phone, with rate plans that "fit any family's budget."
Earlier efforts dubbed "Monk" and "Mime" also playfully promoted Powertel's low rates.
PLC used no tagline, which Nel considers "marketing handcuffs" for a growing company like Powertel that is changing its target audience. For now, that demographic is "anyone with two ears," as Nel put it, though Powertel will soon focus on the business arena.
The television commercials begin today on early morning news programs in Atlanta; Birmingham, Ala.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Memphis and Jackson, Tenn. Added to the playlist this fall will be Nashville, Tenn., and Louisville, Ky.
Television credits belong to Nel, copywriter Harry Hayes and the Los Angeles production company Scream. Rounding out the campaign are radio and print, with two additional TV ads breaking this fall.