BBDO/S.F. Zeroes In For Pac Bell

SAN FRANCISCO – Pacific Bell Information Services has slashed the ad budget for the Message Center in favor of a tightly targeted approach it hopes will win greater penetration among upscale, educated consumers.
Along with that, Pac Bell’s shop BBDO here has been asked to create a new campaign that combines messages for two normally disparate markets – business and residential users.
Pac Bell officials would not discuss specific ad spending, but other sources said this year’s budget would be halved to under $5 million.
The reduced spending reflects a natural shifting in strategy now that the initial launch of the product is complete, and the company wants to focus on the features of the services, said Ralph Sherman, director of marketing communications for the Pac Bell division.
But the Message Center has largely failed to attract a mass market audience. And a revamped media plan suggests Pac Bell is resigned to making the most of the niche market to which the service appeals. Plans are to increase business 40-60% this year.
The campaign, which begins airing this week, features three humorous television commercials paired with 15-second spots, each highlighting a single feature of the residential service and the equivalent business feature – including message privacy and remote message retrieval.
To get the most mileage from the budget, BBDO has cross-referenced the ZIP codes of long-term Message Center users with the psychographic and demographic database ‘Prizm’ to determine ZIP codes with clusters of likely customers, mostly in San Diego, S.F. and L.A., where the marketing efforts will be concentrated.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)

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