Atlanta Brave Pitches Southern Linc

ATLANTA Southern Linc this week marked its return to television advertising with a campaign starring major leaguer John Smoltz as a moonlighting businessman.

A 30-second television spot from Atlanta’s Kilgannon McReynolds debuted on network affiliates and cable channels ESPN, TNN, CNN, TNT, USA and TBS in Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi markets.

The campaign budget was undisclosed.

Previous advertising for the wireless handset provider, a division of Atlanta-based Southern Company, was limited to print and radio ads that targeted males 25-54.

“Educating wireless decision makers about how our products and services enhance their business efficiency is our primary objective,” said Julie Pigott, vice president of marketing for Southern Linc. “Adding television will enable us to broaden our reach.”

Agency creative director Elizabeth Smith wanted to use Cy Young award-winner Smoltz in his natural setting as a ballplayer, but with a twist.

“During one of our brainstorming sessions, we discussed what we thought John might do once he retires from baseball,” said Smith. “That led us to the question, ‘What if he has a job already?’ “

The ensuing campaign capitalizes on the Atlanta Braves pitcher’s 14-year career and 2,240 strikeouts.

In print and TV ads he operates a side business that manufactures large K’s for fans to hang in the stadium. In the spot, he is seen following up a 16-inning game with calls to his plant manager complaining about a glitch in the strikeout cards. Thanks to the speed and efficiency of his Instant Linc two-way radio, the problem is solved.

The spot ends with “Get a Linc. And get your business going.”

The radio schedule skews male on primarily sports, talk, urban and country stations. In-store displays will appear in more that 170 dealer locations throughout the Southeast, followed by promotional newspaper ads in the same markets.